Development of a probiotic additive for aquaculture

DARWIN Secures Its Second CREATEC-CV Project to Develop a Feed Additive for Fish Farms to Improve the Health of Fish Produced for Human Consumption, While Minimizing the Use of Antibiotics. This project is particularly important in the sustainability sector given the current and growing demand for fish. The project, funded by IVACE and co-financed with ERDF funds, is a continuation of the previous project.


The main objective of the project has been the characterization, validation, and market readiness of a fish feed additive with beneficial biological activities.




Fish is considered a particularly important food due to its high protein content and essential nutrients such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. The increase in global demand for this food necessitates sustainable development in the aquaculture industry.


In this context, the development of diets that include probiotic supplements has great potential and helps reduce the use of antibiotics in this sector. Probiotics are live dietary supplements that have positive health effects, such as aiding the digestive process or stimulating the immune system. Additionally, many probiotics can inhibit the growth of certain pathogenic microorganisms that cause infectious diseases, the main cause of economic losses in aquaculture.


Another challenge caused by the increased demand for these foods is the need to produce a greater amount of raw materials for fish feed. One proposed solution to this problem is the use of agricultural by-products as a source of protein for fish feed, but their digestion can result in the generation of toxic metabolites. An example is saponin, which can cause intestinal enteritis in fish.




The specific objectives that were initially proposed and have been achieved during the project are:

  1. Characterizing the enzyme production capacity of various strains.
  2. Characterizing the capacity to metabolize toxic compounds.
  3. Validating the antimicrobial activity of the probiotics in vivo in a trout model.
  4. Studying the viability of the probiotic strains in the fish intestine, in water, and in feed.
  5. Formulating the product.



Year of Completion: 2022




Currently, there are some probiotics used in fish farms in Europe. However, what differentiates our product is that it improves fish health by addressing various critical points in their production process, as it:

  • Exhibits antimicrobial activity against pathogens that cause significant economic losses in aquaculture.
  • Enhances digestibility, hygienic conditions, and the preservation of the feed.
  • Improves water quality by naturally reducing the concentration of toxic compounds (nitrogenous compounds, hydrogen sulfide) and decreasing the accumulation of organic matter through the production of enzymes (protease, amylase, and cellulase).


Finally, it is worth noting that using probiotics as a supplement in fish diets will reduce the use of antibiotics, and therefore fight one of the major problems we are facing: antibiotic resistance.