Antimicrobial and Toxic Activity of Citronella Essential Oil (Cymbopogon nardus), and Its Effect on the Growth and Metabolism of Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata L.)
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SourceFishes 2021, 6(4), 61
Aquaculture procedures usually induce stress that affects the physiological status of fish. For this reason, the inclusion of additives in fish feeds to palliate stress might be a good alternative. This study aimed to assess the antimicrobial activity of citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) essential oil (CEO) against bacterial pathogens and to determine its dietary impact on the growth performance of Sparus aurata. In vitro tests confirmed that CEO possesses antimicrobial activity against several fish-specific pathogens. For the in vivo tests, three experimental groups were fed for 60 days with different concentrations of CEO: CTRL (0 mL kg(-1) fish feed); CEO1 (1 mL kg(-1) fish feed); and CEO2 (2 mL kg(-1) fish feed). At the end of the experiment, the physiological status was characterized. Subsequently, the specimens of the CTRL and CEO2 groups were subjected to a challenge with an injection of Poly I:C for immune stimulation. Although S. aurata individuals tolerated CEO inclusion without compromising growth performance, it significantly reduced glycogen in the CEO2 group, concomitant to an increment of total peripheral leucocytes. Moreover, different hematological profiles' responsive patterns against an inflammatory stimulus were observed. In conclusion, our results suggest that the use of CEO as a fish feed additive can prevent bacterial outbreaks and improve potential in vivo disease resistance in S. aurata without negatively affecting growth.