, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 431-457
Date: 11 Sep 2012

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

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Abstract

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.

D. K. Meena, Pronob Das, Shailesh Kumar have contributed equally to this work.