Preparation and Characterization of Alginate Microparticles Containing a Model Protein for Oral Administration in Gnotobiotic European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) Larvae

Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2017 Aug;19(4):391-400. doi: 10.1007/s10126-017-9758-4. Epub 2017 Jun 22.


Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal production sector. However, the production of marine fish is still hampered by the high mortality rate in the first few weeks after hatching. Mortality in larvae is often caused by microbial infections. Today, the incorporation of immunostimulants into microparticles provides us new tools to enhance disease resistance in marine larviculture. In this study, we prepared alginate microparticles loaded with the model antigen fluorescein isothiocyanate conjugated-bovine serum albumin. Optimum concentrations of alginate and CaCl2, the correct alginate viscosity and the appropriate preparatory conditions led to the creation of desirable microparticles with the correct size for oral feeding in gnotobiotic European sea bass larvae. The prepared alginate microparticles were stable in sea water and were successfully ingested by gnotobiotic sea bass larvae at day after hatching 7 without causing any negative effects. Results suggest the suitability of this drug delivery system for targeting the innate immune system of fish larvae in order to enhance disease resistance and thus reduce mortality in larviculture.

Keywords: Alginate microparticles; Encapsulation; Gnotobiotic; Immunostimulant; Sea bass larvae.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Aquaculture
  • Bass / growth & development
  • Bass / physiology*
  • Calcium Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Fish Diseases / prevention & control
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / administration & dosage
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Germ-Free Life
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Larva / physiology
  • Particle Size
  • Seawater
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / administration & dosage*


  • fluorescein isothiocyanate bovine serum albumin
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Calcium Chloride