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Article

Quantity and Quality of Aquaculture Enrichments Influence Disease Epidemics and Provide Ecological Alternatives to Antibiotics

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, P.O. Box 35, 40014 Jyvaskyla, Finland
2
Natural Resources and Bioproduction, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Manamansalontie 90, 88300 Paltamo, Finland
3
Nanoscience Center, University of Jyvaskyla, P.O. Box 35, 40014 Jyvaskyla, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Teresa Pérez Nieto and Giorgia Gioacchini
Antibiotics 2021, 10(3), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10030335
Received: 19 February 2021 / Revised: 10 March 2021 / Accepted: 16 March 2021 / Published: 22 March 2021
Environmental heterogeneity is a central component influencing the virulence and epidemiology of infectious diseases. The number and distribution of susceptible hosts determines disease transmission opportunities, shifting the epidemiological threshold between the spread and fadeout of a disease. Similarly, the presence and diversity of other hosts, pathogens and environmental microbes, may inhibit or accelerate an epidemic. This has important applied implications in farming environments, where high numbers of susceptible hosts are maintained in conditions of minimal environmental heterogeneity. We investigated how the quantity and quality of aquaculture enrichments (few vs. many stones; clean stones vs. stones conditioned in lake water) influenced the severity of infection of a pathogenic bacterium, Flavobacterium columnare, in salmonid fishes. We found that the conditioning of the stones significantly increased host survival in rearing tanks with few stones. A similar effect of increased host survival was also observed with a higher number of unconditioned stones. These results suggest that a simple increase in the heterogeneity of aquaculture environment can significantly reduce the impact of diseases, most likely operating through a reduction in pathogen transmission (stone quantity) and the formation of beneficial microbial communities (stone quality). This supports enriched rearing as an ecological and economic way to prevent bacterial infections with the minimal use of antimicrobials. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaculture; biofilm; disease epidemiology; enriched rearing; environmental microbes; microbial community; Salmo salar; Salmo trutta aquaculture; biofilm; disease epidemiology; enriched rearing; environmental microbes; microbial community; Salmo salar; Salmo trutta
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karvonen, A.; Räihä, V.; Klemme, I.; Ashrafi, R.; Hyvärinen, P.; Sundberg, L.-R. Quantity and Quality of Aquaculture Enrichments Influence Disease Epidemics and Provide Ecological Alternatives to Antibiotics. Antibiotics 2021, 10, 335. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10030335

AMA Style

Karvonen A, Räihä V, Klemme I, Ashrafi R, Hyvärinen P, Sundberg L-R. Quantity and Quality of Aquaculture Enrichments Influence Disease Epidemics and Provide Ecological Alternatives to Antibiotics. Antibiotics. 2021; 10(3):335. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10030335

Chicago/Turabian Style

Karvonen, Anssi, Ville Räihä, Ines Klemme, Roghaieh Ashrafi, Pekka Hyvärinen, and Lotta-Riina Sundberg. 2021. "Quantity and Quality of Aquaculture Enrichments Influence Disease Epidemics and Provide Ecological Alternatives to Antibiotics" Antibiotics 10, no. 3: 335. https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics10030335

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