Aquaculture International

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 349–367 | Cite as

Dietary supplementation with sulfated polysaccharides from Gracilaria birdiae promotes a delayed immunostimulation in marine shrimp challenged by the white spot syndrome virus

  • Liege Cantelli
  • Priscila Goncalves
  • Cristhiane Guertler
  • Mirian Kayser
  • Mariana Rangel Pilotto
  • Margherita Anna Barracco
  • Luciane Maria PerazzoloEmail author


Immune system stimulation by dietary supplementation has been widely explored in aquaculture as an effective practice in increasing shrimp resistance against infectious diseases. Given the recurring impacts of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) on shrimp farming worldwide, the search for immunostimulant compounds is of urgent importance. This study investigated the effect of a diet supplemented with sulfated polysaccharides (SP) from the red seaweed Gracilaria birdiae on the immune response of Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) challenged with a non-lethal dose of WSSV. The health status and immunocompetence of infected shrimp were monitored by assessing multiple immune parameters in hemolymph. Dietary supplementation with SP from G. birdiae (32 days) was able to promote a delayed immunostimulation by enhancing the agglutinating capacity and PO activity and an increase in the survival of L. vannamei challenged with a non-lethal dose of WSSV. Our findings support the potential application of this marine seaweed in shrimp farming and contribute to a better understanding of the effects of immunostimulants on shrimp immune and physiological responses.


Immune parameters Immunostimulants Litopenaeus vannamei Red seaweed White spot syndrome virus 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Giovanni Lemos de Mello (UDESC, Laguna, SC) and Dr. Edemar R. Andreatta (Aquaculture Department, UFSC) for providing animals for this study; Dr. Mauricio Lehmann and Dr. Delano Dias Schleder (Federal Institute of Santa Catarina, Araquari Campus, SC), for the access to the WSSV bioassay facilities; and Dr. Wladimir Ronald Lobo Farias (in memoriam) from the Marine Biochemistry Laboratory (Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza Brazil) for providing the sulfated polysaccharides from Gracilaria birdiae. L. Cantelli, P. Goncalves, and C. Guertler were supported by MSc scholarships provided by CAPES-Brazil. M.R. Pilotto was supported by a PhD scholarship provided by CAPES (CIMAR II). This study was funded by a research grant from FINEP-Brazil (Project 154/2007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

“All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.”


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Immunology Applied to Aquaculture, Department of Cell Biology, Embryology and GeneticsFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Federal Institute of Santa CatarinaSão Bento do SulBrazil

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