Aquaculture industries, and in particular the farming of fish and crustaceans, are major contributors to the economy of many countries and an increasingly important component in global food supply. However, the severe impact of aquatic microbial diseases on production performance remains a challenge to these industries. This article considers the potential applications of microalgal technology in the control of such diseases. At the simplest level, microalgae offer health-promoting benefits as a nutritional supplement in feed meal because of their digestibility and high content of proteins, lipids and essential nutrients. Furthermore, some microalgal species possess natural anti-microbial compounds or contain biomolecules that can serve as immunostimulants. In addition, emerging genetic engineering technologies in microalgae offer the possibility of producing ‘functional feed additives’ in which novel and specific bioactives, such as fish growth hormones, anti-bacterials, subunit vaccines, and virus-targeted interfering RNAs, are components of the algal supplement. The evaluation of such technologies for farm applications is an important step in the future development of sustainable aquaculture.
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