Importance of biofilm for water quality and nourishment in intensive shrimp culture

Thompson, Fabiano Lopes; Abreu, Paulo Cesar Oliveira Vergne de; Wasielesky Junior, Wilson Francisco Britto


Experiments were conducted to test the usefulness of biofilms—a microbial consortium associated with extracellular polymeric substances attached to submersed surfaces—in reducing the levels of ammonium and phosphate of rearing system water, and as a food source for the shrimp Farfantepenaeus paulensis. A mature biofilm, which is able to keep ammonium and phosphate at low levels, occurred 10–15 days after tank cleanup, and was characterized by chlorophyll-a concentration around 5 mgrcm2. It was mainly composed of pennate diatoms Ž Amphora, Campylopyxis, NaÕicula, Sinedra, Hantschia and Cylindrotheca; ca. 9=104 cellsrmg of biofilm.and filamentous cyanobacteriaŽOscillatoria and Spirulina; ca. 2=105 cellsrmg., though bacteria Žmax. 1.48=107rmg., flagellatesŽmax. 1.08=103rmg.and ciliatesŽmax.3.51=102rmg. were also present. Pennate diatoms and filamentous cyanobacteria were responsible for the largest uptake of ammonium from the water, but nitrifying bacteria also played an important role. The presence of a biofilm lead to reduced exportation of phosphorus Ž33% less phosphate. and to a higher output of nitrateqnitrite, instead of ammonium. Biofilm was also an important complementary food source for the shrimp, increasing their growth. q2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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