NEWS Navigating the Probiotic Path: Challenges and Considerations for Modern Farmers

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*By Nayan Chouhan, Bhavesh Choudhary and Arya Singh

Ensuring the well-being and efficiency of aquatic species is of utmost importance in the constantly changing field of aquaculture. In modern aquaculture, the prevailing method consists of incorporating probiotics into the diet.

Introduction



Ensuring the well-being and efficiency of aquatic species is of utmost importance in the constantly changing field of aquaculture. In modern aquaculture, the prevailing method consists of incorporating probiotics into the diet (Singh et al., 2023). Probiotics are living bacteria that provide health advantages when given in sufficient amounts. Usually, these microorganisms consist of advantageous bacteria, yeast, and other probiotic varieties that have a good impact on the gut microbiota of aquatic creatures.


This helps improve digestion and strengthen immunological reactions. It has emerged as a viable instrument in this effort, providing a natural and sustainable method to improve development, strengthen immunity, and reduce disease. Martínez Cruz et al. (2012) found that the addition of probiotics to diet enhances the absorption of nutrients. Nevertheless, the incorporation of probiotics into aquaculture techniques presents unique problems and concerns that require meticulous attention and strategic planning from the farming community.

“The price of any commodity in the market is changing due to heightened rivalry among manufacturers. Consequently, the probiotic consortia would experience a decline in the quality of the suitable composition of all beneficial microorganisms.”


Consequently, there is a potential for reduced production or failure to achieve the anticipated production levels, even when probiotics are employed. Probiotics can also decrease need on antibiotics. To mitigate the emergence of antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) in aquaculture, it is imperative to employ sustainable practices that minimize the possibility of ARG transmission (Chouhan et al., 2023).


The fish farmers have several obstacles while adopting new technology. However, by carefully examining various factors, the fish output may be significantly improved, contributing to the economic prosperity of small and marginal farmers.

Challenges Faced by Farmers

1.Access to Information and Education:


The sources of knowledge in advanced technology encompass extension agents, fellow farmers, fish farmers’ associations, associated agriculture and allied science universities, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations (Sharma et al., 2012). There is a notable correlation between the consumption of different sources of information. Obtaining dependable information and educational resources on probiotics can be difficult for numerous farmers, particularly those in remote or resource-limited areas.


Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the concepts behind probiotic use, which encompasses factors like as strain selection, dose determination, and delivery techniques, necessitates specialist information that may not always be easily accessible. It is crucial to address this lack of information by implementing focused training programs, extension services, and activities that facilitate knowledge exchange among farmers (Ghosh et al., 2022).

2.Affordability and Availability:


Small-scale and subsistence farmers face substantial obstacles due to the high cost and limited accessibility of probiotic products. As the gram positive Bacillus species is often more economically viable (Chalamalasetti et al., 2022). Currently, the majority of fish farmers are small-scale pond owners. However, commercial probiotic formulations are generally expensive, making them financially unaffordable for them with limited resources.


Moreover, the problem is exacerbated by the scarcity of suppliers and distribution networks in rural regions, which also results in restricted options for farmers. It is crucial to provide cost-effective and regionally available probiotic solutions that are specifically designed for the requirements of local and small-scale farmers in order to encourage wider use.

3.Quality Control and Product Efficacy:


Farmers in locations with lenient regulatory control face difficulties in guaranteeing the quality and effectiveness of probiotic products. Ineffective results and substantial economic losses can occur when substandard or counterfeit probiotics are used in aquaculture, since they may lack the necessary potency and stability to have favorable impacts on the farmed aquatic species.


Hence, using quality control measures, such as product certification, batch testing, and partnering with trustworthy suppliers, serves to protect against the utilization of substandard probiotic formulations. Alternatively, the choice of probiotics should be made by considering the product or brand’s repute in the local market. The animal’s sensitivity to infections and the effectiveness of probiotics can be influenced by several circumstances (Gatesoupe, 2009).

4.Integration into Farm Management Practices:


By incorporating probiotics into other management strategies, we may fully harness the advantages of probiotics in promoting the long-term viability of aquaculture systems (Amenyogbe, 2023). Hence, the incorporation of probiotics into current agricultural management strategies necessitates meticulous evaluation of logistical, operational, and cultural variables.


To optimize effectiveness and avoid interference with regular activities, farmers need to ascertain the most appropriate techniques, dose schedules, and time for administering probiotics. Furthermore, promoting a culture of acceptance and trust among farmers towards probiotic technology may need specific outreach initiatives and demonstration trials.


Considerations for Farmers

1.Start Small and Scale Gradually:


It is advised for farmers who are new to probiotic supplementation to begin with a little amount and gradually increase it. By conducting pilot experiments on a selected group of fish populations, farmers may evaluate the practicality and effectiveness of probiotic therapies before deciding to adopt them on a broad scale. Tracking essential metrics including growth rates, feed conversion ratios, and illness prevention rates provide useful data for continuously improving probiotic tactics. Systematically increase the use of probiotics in various sections of the farm as favorable effects are achieved, while closely monitoring for the most effective outcomes and making any adjustments to the strategy.

2.Foster Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:


The exchange of experiences, best practices, and lessons gained about probiotic usage in aquaculture is facilitated by collaboration among farmers, researchers, extension agents, and industry stakeholders. Engaging in farmer organizations, cooperatives, seminars, or on farm demonstration allows farmers to exchange successful experiences, address difficulties, and collaboratively develop sustainable solutions (Joffre et al., 2020). Utilizing local knowledge and indigenous methods enhances the overall comprehension of probiotic uses in various aquacultural settings.

3.Embrace Diversity in Probiotic Strategies:


Farmers are given the ability to explore bespoke solutions that are in alignment with their particular production systems and goals when they are made aware of the range of probiotic strains, application methods, and delivery systems. It is possible for farmers to take use of the natural microbial variety that is present in their settings by experimenting with various probiotic formulations. These formulations may include alternatives that are available locally, such as fermented feeds or substrates that are high in probiotics.


Numerous probiotic compositions are already accessible on the market; nonetheless, due to the fact that different fish species have varying degrees of adaptability, it is imperative that these probiotics be utilized in a strategic manner in order to maximize profit margins in cultured fish species. Encouragement of creativity and resilience in the face of shifting conditions may be achieved via the use of a variety of measures.

4.Monitor and Adapt:


The effective incorporation of probiotics into aquaculture systems requires a multitude of key components, including continuous monitoring and modification. The practice of regularly evaluating the performance and health state of aquatic stocks by means of observation, sampling, and diagnostic instruments provides farmers with the ability to identify early indications of effectiveness or problems that require action (Føre et al., 2018).


It is important to have the ability to change probiotic regimens based on input from monitoring results in order to ensure response to changing challenges and to optimize the outcomes. According to Zorriehzahra et al. (2016), the astounding demonstration and implementation of probiotics in aquaculture demonstrates the numerous benefits that these microorganisms provide and prominently positions them in the dynamic quest for alternatives that are beneficial to the health of farmed fish.

Conclusion


Despite the fact that the process of adding probiotics into aquaculture methods may be laden with difficulties, farmers at the grassroots level possess a plethora of knowledge, inventiveness, and resiliency that will allow them to overcome these issues. There is the potential for farmers to leverage the transformative power of probiotics in order to improve the health, productivity, and sustainability of their aquaculture operations.


This may be accomplished by addressing concerns pertaining to access, cost, quality control, and integration. Farmers will be able to confidently navigate the seas of probiotic usage if they work together, share their expertise, and employ adaptive management strategies. This will pave the path for an aquaculture industry that is more resilient and profitable.


References and sources consulted by the author on the elaboration of this article are available under previous request to our editorial staff.
Nayan Chouhan, Bhavesh Choudhary and Arya Singh College of Fisheries, Central Agricultural University, Lembucherra, Tripura, 799210
Email: nayan101chouhan@gmail.com


The post Navigating the Probiotic Path: Challenges and Considerations for Modern Farmers appeared first on Aquaculture Magazine.

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