Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 431-457

First online:

Beta-glucan: an ideal immunostimulant in aquaculture (a review)

  • D. K. MeenaAffiliated withCentral Inland Fisheries Research Institute
  • , Pronob DasAffiliated withCentral Inland Fisheries Research Institute Email author 
  • , Shailesh KumarAffiliated withCentral Institute of Fisheries Education
  • , S. C. MandalAffiliated withCollege of Fisheries, Central Agricultural University
  • , A. K. PrustyAffiliated withProject Directorate for Farming System Research (PDFSR)
  • , S. K. SinghAffiliated withCentral Institute of Fisheries Education
  • , M. S. AkhtarAffiliated withDirectorate of Coldwater Fisheries Research
  • , B. K. BeheraAffiliated withCentral Inland Fisheries Research Institute
  • , Kundan KumarAffiliated withCentral Institute of Fisheries Education
    • , A. K. PalAffiliated withCentral Institute of Fisheries Education
    • , S. C. MukherjeeAffiliated withCentral Institute of Fisheries Education

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The major hindrance in the development and sustainability of aquaculture industry is the occurrence of various diseases in the farming systems. Today, preventive and management measures are central concern to overcome such outbreak of diseases. Immunostimulants are considered as an effective tool for enhancing immune status of cultured organisms. Among different immunostimulants used in aquaculture practices, β-glucan is one of the promising immunostimulant, which is a homopolysaccharide of glucose molecule linked by the glycoside bond. It forms the major constituents of cell wall of some plants, fungi, bacteria, mushroom, yeast, and seaweeds. Major attention on β-glucan was captivated with the gain in knowledge on its receptors and the mechanism of action. The receptor present inside the animal body recognizes and binds to β-glucan, which in turn renders the animal with high resistance and enhanced immune response. This review highlights β-glucan as an immunostimulant, its effective dosages, and route of administration and furthermore provides an outline on role of β-glucan in enhancing growth, survival, and protection against infectious pathogens pertaining to fishes and shellfishes. Study also summarizes the effect of β-glucan on its receptors, recognition of proteins, immune-related enzymes, immune-related gene expression and their mechanisms of action.


β-Glucan β-Glucan receptor β-Glucan binding protein Prophenoloxidase Immunostimulant Aquaculture Prebiotics