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High doses of Lactobacillus reuteri boost Nile tilapia performance 

November 16, 2022  By Ruby Gonzalez

Supplementing diet with high doses of probiotics, Lactobacillus reuteri, enhances performance in tilapia, a study in China cited. 

The study, “Effects of dietary Lactobacillus reuteri on growth performance, nutrient retention, gut health and microbiota of the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus),” found that 1010 (R10 group) colony-forming units (CFU) of L. reuteri per kilogram of basal diet produced the best probiotic effect.

Dietary L. reuteri improved the growth performance and nutrient retention of Nile tilapia, increased its villus heights, mucin secretion, digestive enzyme activities and tight junction proteins, said authors Li et al. in the study published in Aquaculture Reports. They likewise observed that its supplementation altered the diversity and composition of gut microbiota. The team is with Zhonghai University of Agriculture and Engineering in Guangzhou, China.

“Probiotic use in tilapia production is considered a viable, safe, and environmentally-friendly strategy to enhance growth performance, feed utilization, immunity, disease resistance, and survival against pathogens and environmental stress,” they said.


Performance was analyzed after eight weeks of culture among the treatment groups. Weight gain rate (WGR) and specific growth rate (SGR) were significantly higher in the R10 and R11 groups than the control group. 

Other experimental groups were in 109 and 1011 diets. Difference between R10 and R11 were not significant. R10 had WGR of 8.01, SGR of 3.92 and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of 1.03.  R11 performance was at 7.92, 3.91 and 1.06, respectively. Control was at 6.94, 3.7 and 1.12.

FCR tended to decrease in the L. reuteri-supplemented groups, although the differences were not statistically significant.Nile tilapia has a taste profile that appeals to consumers and is a perennial favourite all over the world. Demand aside, growers choose the animals because of its rapid growth, high production, and good disease resistance. 

The last trait, however, has been compromised by semi-intensive and intensive aquaculture practices. High stocking ratio may lead to incidence of fish disease that could lead mortality rates and, consequentially, financial losses.

In China, as elsewhere, the use of probiotics in aquaculture is gaining traction as eco-friendly solutions are being sought to improve fish health. Probiotics have been proven to improve nutrient digestibility, stress tolerance, and reproduction.

L. reuteri , a lactic acid bacteria (LAB), plays an important role in the host digestive tract and modulates the host immune response. It is generally regarded as safe even for humans. It is widely used in aquaculture. Compared to Bacillus spp., another probiotic, LAB do not generate spores. Thus, if it becomes imperative, it is “easier to reduce” the bacterial load.

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