Salmonid Antibacterial Immunity: An Aquaculture Perspective

Biology (Basel). 2020 Oct 11;9(10):331. doi: 10.3390/biology9100331.


The aquaculture industry is continuously threatened by infectious diseases, including those of bacterial origin. Regardless of the disease burden, aquaculture is already the main method for producing fish protein, having displaced capture fisheries. One attractive sector within this industry is the culture of salmonids, which are (a) uniquely under pressure due to overfishing and (b) the most valuable finfish per unit of weight. There are still knowledge gaps in the understanding of fish immunity, leading to vaccines that are not as effective as in terrestrial species, thus a common method to combat bacterial disease outbreaks is the use of antibiotics. Though effective, this method increases both the prevalence and risk of generating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To facilitate vaccine design and/or alternative treatment efforts, a deeper understanding of the teleost immune system is essential. This review highlights the current state of teleost antibacterial immunity in the context of salmonid aquaculture. Additionally, the success of current techniques/methods used to combat bacterial diseases in salmonid aquaculture will be addressed. Filling the immunology knowledge gaps highlighted here will assist in reducing aquaculture losses in the future.

Keywords: adjuvants; aquaculture; bacterial pathogenesis; bacterial pathogens; comparative immunology; immunological memory; salmonids; teleost; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review