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J Fish Dis. 2009 Sep;32(9):755-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2761.2009.01052.x. Epub 2009 May 28.

Soybean meal alters autochthonous microbial populations, microvilli morphology and compromises intestinal enterocyte integrity of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum).

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Aquaculture and Fish Nutrition Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK.


Rainbow trout were fed either a diet containing fishmeal (FM) as the crude protein source or a diet containing 50% replacement with soybean meal (SBM) for 16 weeks. An enteritis-like effect was observed in the SBM group; villi, enterocytes and microvilli were noticeably damaged compared with the FM group. The posterior intestine microvilli of SBM-fed fish were significantly shorter and the anterior intestine microvilli significantly less dense than the FM-fed fish. Electron microscopy confirmed the presence of autochthonous bacterial populations associated with microvilli of both fish groups. Reduced density of microvilli consequently led to increased exposure of enterocyte tight junctions, which combined with necrotic enterocytes is likely to diminish the protective barrier of the intestinal epithelium. No significant differences in total viable counts of culturable microbial populations were found between the groups in any of the intestinal regions. A total of 1500 isolates were tentatively placed into groups or genera, according to standard methods. Subsequent partial 16S rRNA sequencing revealed species that have not been identified from the rainbow trout intestine previously. Compared with the FM group levels of Psychrobacter spp. and yeast were considerably higher in the SBM group; a reduction of Aeromonas spp. was also observed.

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