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Evaluation of the Potential of Marine Algae Extracts as a Source of Functional Ingredients Using Zebrafish as Animal Model for Aquaculture
Marine Biotechnology  (IF3.619),  Pub Date : 2021-06-29, DOI: 10.1007/s10126-021-10044-5
M. Monteiro, A. S. Lavrador, R. Santos, F. Rangel, P. Iglesias, M. Tárraga, A. Couto, C. R. Serra, C. Tafalla, E. Da Costa, M. R. Domingues, A. Oliva-Teles, A. P. Carvalho, P. Enes, P. Díaz-Rosales

Research on immunotherapeutic agents has become a focus for the treatment of fish diseases. The ability of algae to produce secondary metabolites of potential interest as immunotherapeutics has been documented. The present research intended to assess antiviral and antibacterial activities of macro- and microalgae extracts against viral and bacterial pathogens and explore their immunomodulatory potential using zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae as a model organism. The cytotoxicity and antiviral activity of eight methanolic and ethanolic extracts from two macroalgae (Fucus vesiculosus, Ulva rigida) and two microalgae (Nannochloropsis gaditana, Chlorella sp.) were analyzed in established fish cell lines. Six extracts were selected to evaluate antibacterial activity by disk diffusion and growth inhibition assays. The three most promising extracts were characterized in terms of fatty acid composition, incorporated at 1% into a plant-based diet, and evaluated their effect on zebrafish immune response and intestinal morphology in a short-term feeding trial. All extracts exhibited in vitro antiviral activity against viral hemorrhagic septicemia and/or infectious pancreatic necrosis viruses. Methanolic extracts from F. vesiculosus and U. rigida were richer in saturated fatty acids and exhibited in vitro antibacterial action against several bacteria. Most promising results were obtained in vivo with F. vesiculosus methanol extract, which exerted an anti-inflammatory action when incorporated alone into diets and induced pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, when combined with the other extracts. Moreover, dietary inclusion of the extracts improved intestinal morphology. In summary, the results obtained in this study support the potential of algae as natural sources of bioactive compounds for the aquaculture industry.