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This article in

  1. Vol. 87 No. 10, p. 3226-3234
    Received: Aug 23, 2008
    Accepted: July 6, 2009
    Published: December 5, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Dietary mannan oligosaccharide supplementation modulates intestinal microbial ecology and improves gut morphology of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum)1

  1. A. Dimitroglou* 2 ,
  2. D. L. Merrifield*,
  3. R. Moate,
  4. S. J. Davies*,
  5. P. Spring,
  6. J. Sweetman§ and
  7. G. Bradley*
  1. Aquaculture and Fish Nutrition Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, and
    Electron Microscopy Centre, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, Devon, PL4 8AA, UK;
    Swiss College of Agriculture, CH-3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland; and
    Alltech Inc., GR-28200 Lixouri, Cephalonia, Greece


A study was conducted to investigate the effect of mannan oligosaccharide (MOS) on the gut microbiota and intestinal morphology of rainbow trout under commercial farming conditions. Juvenile (mean initial BW 38.2 ± 1.7 g) and subadult (111.7 ± 11.6 g) trout were fed 2 dietary treatments for 111 and 58 d, respectively. The control treatment consisted of a standard commercial diet, and the MOS treatment consisted of the control diet supplemented with 0.2% MOS. Morphology of the anterior and the posterior intestine was examined with light and electron microscopy. Light microscopy demonstrated increased gut absorptive surface area in the subadult MOS group. Additionally, electron microscopy revealed an increase in microvilli length and density in the subadult MOS group compared with the control (P < 0.05). However, no significant improvements were detected in the juvenile group. Culture-based evaluation of the intestinal microbiota showed that MOS significantly reduced (P < 0.05) the viable intestinal bacterial populations (by approximately 2 log scales in all cases). Levels of Aeromonas/Vibrio spp. were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in the juvenile MOS group (9% of the total microbiota) compared with the juvenile control group (37%). Additionally, analysis of microbial communities was conducted using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of PCR-amplified 16S rDNA. The denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting revealed an alteration of bacterial populations; analysis of similarity, similarity percentages, and nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis showed that MOS reduced species richness and increased similarity of bacterial populations found within the subadult and juvenile groups. The current study shows that MOS modulates intestinal microbial communities, which subsequently improve gut morphology and epithelial brush border.

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