Chlorella vulgaris extracts as modulators of the health status and the inflammatory response of gilthead seabream juveniles (Sparus aurata)

Bruno Reis*, Lourenço Ramos-Pinto, Sara A. Cunha, Manuela Pintado, Joana Laranjeira da Silva, Jorge Dias, Luís Conceição, Elisabete Matos, Benjamín Costas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to evaluate the effects of short-term supplementation, with 2% Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris) biomass and two 0.1% C. vulgaris extracts, on the health status (experiment one) and on the inflammatory response (experiment two) of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata). The trial comprised four isoproteic (50% crude protein) and isolipidic (17% crude fat) diets. A fishmeal-based (FM), practical diet was used as a control (CTR), whereas three experimental diets based on CTR were further supplemented with a 2% inclusion of C. vulgaris biomass (Diet D1); 0.1% inclusion of C. vulgaris peptide-enriched extract (Diet D2) and finally a 0.1% inclusion of C. vulgaris insoluble fraction (Diet D3). Diets were randomly assigned to quadruplicate groups of 97 fish/tank (IBW: 33.4 ± 4.1 g), fed to satiation three times a day in a recirculation seawater system. In experiment one, seabream juveniles were fed for 2 weeks and sampled for tissues at 1 week and at the end of the feeding period. Afterwards, randomly selected fish from each group were subjected to an inflammatory insult (experiment two) by intraperitoneal injection of inactivated gram-negative bacteria, following 24 and 48 h fish were sampled for tissues. Blood was withdrawn for haematological pro-cedures, whereas plasma and gut tissue were sampled for immune and oxidative stress parameters. The anterior gut was also collected for gene expression measurements. After 1 and 2 weeks of feed-ing, fish fed D2 showed higher circulating neutrophils than seabream fed CTR. In contrast, dietary treatments induced mild effects on the innate immune and antioxidant functions of gilthead sea-bream juveniles fed for 2 weeks. In the inflammatory response following the inflammatory insult, mild effects could be attributed to C. vulgaris supplementation either in biomass form or extract. However, the C. vulgaris soluble peptide-enriched extract seems to confer a protective, anti-stress effect in the gut at the molecular level, which should be further explored in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number407
Number of pages21
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Fish robustness
  • Functional feeds
  • Innate immunity
  • Protein hydrolysate


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