Dietary soybean protein concentrate-induced intestinal disorder in marine farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar is associated with alterations in gut microbiota

Timothy J. Green, Richard Smullen, Andrew C. Barnes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)


The aquaculture industry has made substantial progress in reducing the fishmeal content of feeds for carnivorous species, driven by demand for improved sustainability and reduced cost. Soybean protein concentrate (SPC) is an attractive replacement for fishmeal, but intestinal disorders have been reported in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) fed these diets at high seawater temperatures, with preliminary evidence suggesting SPC induces these disorders by altering the intestinal microbiota. We compared the intestinal microbiota of marine-farmed S. salar fed experimental diets with varying levels of SPC in mid- and late-summer. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and 16S rRNA clone library analysis revealed the microbiota adherent to the intestinal tract of salmon is complex at the population level, but simple and highly variable at the individual level. Temporal changes were observed with the bacterial diversity increasing in the intestinal tract in late summer. A Verrucomicrobia was the most frequently observed ribotype in early summer, whilst an Aliivibrio was the most frequently observed ribotype in late summer. Feeding SPC to salmon increased the bacterial diversity of the intestinal tract and resulted in the presence of bacteria not normally associated with marine fish (Escherichia and Propionibacterium). These diet-induced changes to the intestinal-microbiome could be ameliorated by inclusion of a prebiotic (mannan-oligosaccharide or MOS) to the diet. None of the experimental diets induced inflammation of the intestine as assessed by histopathology and expression of inflammatory cytokines. Our results support the "dysbiosis" hypothesis that SPC adversely affects the intestinal microbiota of Atlantic salmon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-292
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


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