Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 15, Issue 1–2, pp 53–73

Antibacterial Agents in Mediterranean Finfish Farming: A Synopsis of Drug Pharmacokinetics in Important Euryhaline Fish Species and Possible Environmental Implications


DOI: 10.1007/s11160-005-7850-8

Cite this article as:
Rigos, G. & Troisi, G.M. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries (2005) 15: 53. doi:10.1007/s11160-005-7850-8


The literature pertaining to the use of registered antibacterial agents in Mediterranean finfish farming is reviewed, with an emphasis on the Greek fish-farming industry. This review provides a scientific resource dedicated to the design of future antibacterial dosing regimes in Mediterranean fish farming, where insufficient supporting information is currently available. This paper addresses the paucity in knowledge concerning pharmacokinetics and the efficacy and environmental impact of commonly used antibacterials needed to direct future research and promote good practices in the euryhaline fish farming industry. Several registered antibacterials are currently available for combating bacterial infections, including tetracyclines, (fluoro) quinolones, potentiated sulfa, penicillin and chloramphenicol derivatives. Based on the available data, oxytetracycline (OTC) and quinolone drugs (oxolinic acid – OA and flumequine – FLU) are the most widely used in Mediterranean aquaculture. As a result these drugs have received the most extensive studies, whereas, there is considerable paucity of reliable data on pharmacokinetic and the depletion characteristics of other drugs used, particularly potentiated sulfa, penicillin derivatives and florfenicol. We find there is incomplete data on drug efficacy and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) for common antibacterials used against the major bacterial pathogens of Mediterranean fish species. Furthermore, a considerable lack of data on environmental drug concentrations around Mediterranean fish farms was also identified, highlighting the need for more extensive environmental studies to monitor contamination in environmental components i.e., water and sediment, and in non-target species (flora and fauna). Prudent selection and use of antibacterials can encourage lower dosage applications, enhance treatment efficacy, and help to minimize contamination of the environment. Selection of readily bioavailable drugs which have low environmental persistence, low aquatic toxicity and high antibacterial efficacy is advised, to reduce potential losses to the environment and associated toxic effects on target species and the development of bacterial resistance. Lack of present data made it impossible to provide thorough and accurate guidance on selection and use of antibacterials and approaches for minimizing environmental impacts for the treatment of major euryhaline aquaculture species.


antibacterial agents environmental implications euryhaline fish farming pharmacokinetics Mediterranean aquaculture 


t1/2α (h)

distribution half-life

t1/2β (h)

elimination half-life

Vd (l kg−1)

volume of distribution

Vdss (l kg−1)

apparent volume of distribution at a steady state


bioavailability – fraction of administered dose available systemically, determined as follows: 100 × [non-intra-vascular dose/ intra-vascular dose]

MRL (ng  g−1)

maximum residue level

AUC (μg h mL−1)

area under the curve – total area under tissue drug concentration versus time curve

WTs (h)

withdrawal times

MIC (μg mL−1)

minimum inhibitory concentration

Cmax (μg g−1 or mL−1)

maximum drug concentration in tissue or plasma


organic carbon coefficient


biodegradation half life


effect concentration; 50% effect on group of organisms


no observable effect concentration; the highest test concentration with no adverse effects


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Fish Nutrition and PathologyHellenic Centre for Marine ResearchEllinikonGreece
  2. 2.Environmental Monitoring Unit, School of EngineeringBrunel UniversityUxbridgeUK

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