6 March 2019 – At the Aquatic Asia conference in Bangkok on March 14, Stéphane Ralite, aquaculture product manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition, will present a communication on microbial and health management in shrimp farming. This comes just a few months after Mr. Ralite took a tour through India talking about antibiotics replacement in the context of shrimp hatcheries in a seminar series organized by Indian hatchery and aquaculture industry associations. Both events are good illustrations of Lallemand’s approach to the aquaculture market—focused on the species and regions with a growing need for quality products, and built on the company’s unparalleled expertise in the science of microbial management for better animal performance and welfare.

Active in the aquaculture business since the late 90s, Lallemand’s aquaculture portfolio now consists of three platforms. One is probiotics, where it has a history of innovation as the producer of Pediococcus acidilactici MA18/5M (BACTOCELL), the only probiotic approved in the European Union for use in all fish and shrimp. BACTOCELL is also patented for its unique ability to prevent spinal deformities in fish. Over the last several years, Lallemand has invested heavily in understanding how BACTOCELL could benefit shrimp and fish producers. Nowadays, BACTOCELL is widely used in fish, especially for the early stages, and in shrimp to help the animal at sensitive life-stages in hatchery and nursery. The product is also used during other critical time-periods in shrimp farming such as transfer and seasonal changes or during exposure to challenging microbial environments leading to pathologies such Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), White Feces Disease (WFD) or Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP).

Second are Lallemand’s yeast derivative products, made from different parts of the yeast. Mr. Ralite says “Agrimos is a historical and well recognized [yeast derivatives] product, widely used in fish across Europe and in the tropical regions.” Now, he says the company’s new-generation yeast derivative product, called YANG, a unique multi-strains yeast fractions, is a breakthrough innovation brought to fish and shrimp markets. Given the significant costs of disease in aquaculture, there is particular interest in the potential of this innovative yeast product to support not only gut health but also skin mucus properties, a critical external barrier and a key component of the fish immune system. In shrimp, YANG has shown benefits on the mitigation of EMS, EHP and WFD or of severe environmental insults.

Finally, the company produces bioremediation solutions, sold under the Lalsea brand, where carefully selected live bacteria are used to improve the quality of the rearing environment, both water and soil. As Mr. Ralite explained, these have been adopted by various segments of the aquaculture industry, including shrimp ponds, hatcheries, and even the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) sector. In short, anywhere there is a particular need for improving the microbial environment and limit water exchange. “Of course, it is a multifactorial process,” he observes. “You cannot work on water quality without working on stock and feed management, biosecurity and health, etc. It all goes together as a set of good practices specific to the local conditions.”

Stéphane Ralite
Aquaculture product manager
Lallemand Animal Nutrition

Between these three—probiotics, yeast fractions, and bioremediation—Lallemand is in the position to offer solutions used in at least 20 commercially fish and shrimp species, in freshwater and saltwater, tanks or ponds, for water or in-feed applications and from hatchery to grow-out stages.

Naturally, there remains significant room for market development work in order to familiarize the aquaculture sector with the good use and benefits of these products. In Mr. Ralite’s opinion, while the discussion about probiotics has advanced significantly across the aquaculture sector in recent years, various stakeholders are still unfamiliar with several of these solutions depending on their area and activity. The importance of selecting high quality microbial products with guaranteed composition, levels of specification, and proof of safety is also often underestimated at the farm level. Meanwhile, bacterial bioremediation still remains poorly understood and relatively unexplored in relation to its vast potential.

Mr. Ralite says: “In Asia, shrimp farmers have seen the benefits of integrating in their management the use of bioremediation bacteria for long time already. But the understanding of the mechanisms which regulate microbial population in a shrimp pond and how to harness them still need a lot of research.”

Similarly, Mr. Ralite points out extensive white space on the conceptual front which promises to keep Lallemand’s aquaculture research team busy for years. In his view, comparatively little is understood about the shrimp microbiome. It has been a challenge for companies and universities to justify integrating this recent field in their shrimp research programs. “So there’s still a big gap of knowledge in nutrition, pathology, management, techniques for many [aqua] species, including shrimp…there’s still a lot to do on this,” he says. On bioremediation, meanwhile, the –OMICS tools for characterizing the microbial environment have only recently become available, opening up new and exciting possibilities to understand and manipulate these microbial communities. Finally, he says, learning more about systems specific to aquatic species—such as shrimp immunity and fish mucosal health—will surely be a promising avenue simply because a lot still needs to be understood.

Fortunately, this kind of work falls squarely within the expertise of Lallemand: characterizing and understanding microbial ecosystems to better modulate them with natural microbial solutions. Indeed, Mr. Ralite points out, the company does this for many different applications: animal production or silage, but also oenology, plant care, human health, food industry or pharma… As an example it has been demonstrated that the use of the solution Lalsea Biorem, at commercial dose, is able to induce significant differences in water microbial populations, resulting in an improvement in water quality and in turn better growth and survival of shrimp.

Moreover, Lallemand thinks it is well equipped not only to take its part in improving our knowledge of microbial aquaculture ecosystems, but also to turn these discoveries into world-class products. They are experts in microbial strains selection, working from the company’s Scottish Aquapharm marine microorganisms bank of over 10,000 microbial strains isolated from marine organisms or environments. Next, the fact that Lallemand is the developer and a primary producer of microorganisms, means that customers will receive the best adapted strain, process and quality for a given application, hence directly benefit from the foremost expertise of Lallemand. Additionally, Lallemand has years of experience in protecting live microorganisms from harsh environments, ensuring that they reach their site of actions. “Some companies have been using BACTOCELL in-feed for a long time now, including in grow-out feeds. It is not a research proposition, it is a commercially viable solution.”

Importantly, according to Mr. Ralite, the reception of the Asian aquaculture professionals he presented to during last year’s seminars in India validated this science-forward approach, underlining this sector’s hunger for proven, high-performing solutions: “What jumped out at me is the change I felt in the mindset of the market, the openness to new technology. There is a growing interest in developing, learning, and integrating new technologies.”

Published in association with Lallemand Animal Nutrition