Over the last decades, aquaculture production increased rapidly. The future development of the industry highly relies on the sustainable utilization of natural resources. The need for improving disease resistance, growth performance, food conversion, and product safety for human consumption has stimulated the application of probiotics in aquaculture. Probiotics increase growth and feed conversion, improve health status, raise disease resistance, decrease stress susceptibility, and improve general vigor. Currently, most probiotics still originate from terrestrial sources rather than fish. However, host-associated (autochthonous) probiotics are likely more persistent in the gastrointestinal tract of fish and may, therefore, exhibit longer-lasting effects on the host. Probiotic candidates are commonly screened in in vitro assays, but the transfer to in vivo assessment is often problematic. In conclusion, modulation of the host-associated microbiome by the use of complex probiotics is promising, but a solid understanding of the interactions involved is only in its infancy and requires further research. Probiotics could be used to explore novel ingredients such as chitin-rich insect meal, which cannot be digested by the fish host alone. Most importantly, probiotics offer the opportunity to improve stress and disease resistance, which is among the most pressing problems in aquaculture.
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