Aquatic Microbial Community ManagementOrganization logo: Wageningen University & Research

About this course

The purpose of this course is to familiarize the students with the importance of the microorganisms that are present in (the different compartments of) aquaculture systems, and how these can be managed. The students will learn that by the targeted manipulation of the microbiota in aquaculture systems, the disease risk for the cultured animals can considerably be decreased and production output can be increased. At the end of this course, it is the goal that the student can assess if an aquaculture system is managed in a microbially proper way, and how this can be remedied if this should not be the case.

Intro: the presence of micro-organisms in aquaculture systems:

  • concepts, origin and prevalence;
  • microbial biomass vs. target biomass;
  • bacteria as food;
  • commensal bacteria vs. pathogenic bacteria.

Traditional management of the microbiota in aquaculture systems: antibiotics, hygienic barriers, SPF animals.
Sustainable management of the microbiota in aquaculture systems:

  • probiotics and prebiotics;

  • quorum sensing inhibition and quenching;

  • r/K selection;

    1. flow-through;
    2. matured biofilters;
    3. recirculating aquaculture systems.
      Bio-floc technology:
  • concept;

  • basics of biofloc management;

  • beneficial effects on cultured animals;

Managing the microbiota towards functionality:

  • management of the microbiota based on ecological theory;
  • management of the microbiota towards biodiversity increase.

Tracking of micro-organisms in aquaculture systems:

  • tools: Plating, flow cytometry, DGGE, t-RFPL, next generation sequencing;
  • interpretation of microbial community composition data.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • show awareness of the significance of the natural microbiota in aquaculture systems;
  • describe and discuss the microbial compartments in aquaculture systems;
  • understand the methods that are available to evaluate the microbial community composition;
  • assess if the microbial status in the aquaculture system poses a potential danger for the cultured animals or not;
  • make funded suggestions and recommendations to improve the microbial community composition and functionality with the aim of maximizing animal health and culture performance.

Prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
General biology, chemistry, biochemistry and basic knowledge on aquaculture

  • Code
  • Credits
    ECTS 3
  • Contact coordinator
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  • Start date

    1 september 2022

    • Ends
      31 augustus 2023
    • Term *
      Academic Year
    • Location
    • Instruction language
  • Start date

    1 september 2023

    • Ends
      31 augustus 2024
    • Term *
      Academic Year
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 23:59 - 15 Jul 2024
    Enrolment starts in 2 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven