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Development of a nutritional alternative source in the reversion of coral bleaching in aquarium


The coral aquaculture activity is in expansion and it´s development is not only for the aquarium industry, but also for the research in coral reef restoration and the pharmaceutics area. Presenting itself to be the better alternative to attend the demand for live corals instead of collection in natural environment. The production of quality and easy-to-use microalgae to serve Brazilian aquaculture market is essential to establish the initial step of the artificial food chain. The big advantage is the high concentration of fatty acids it has. In this context, AquaSmart, with its 12 years of experience in the marine ornamental market and its ability to host scientific studies, proposes to develop a natural product, based on marine microalgae, in an attempt to solve one of the recurring problems among coral cultivations, bleaching caused by the loss of zooxanthelae, a photosynthetic symbiotic organism (dinoflagellates), which supplies vital parts of the metabolic needs of corals, providing nutrients and pigmentation. Efforts to understand coral bleaching and to reverse this process are continuous and it is growing. However, a product that solves the losses caused to shopkeepers, wholesalers and hobbyists has not yet been presented to the aquarium industry. In this way, we intend to develop a product to assist in the treatment and recovery of corals. Through the technique of cultivation and concentration of marine microalgae developed by AquaSmart, we believe in the ability of a nutritionally rich natural food, which gives to the corals exactly what zooxanthelae provide. The rich natural compound food will be the concentrated base of 2 species of marine microalgae produced by AquaSmart (Nannocloropsis oculata and Thallasiossira sp.), Used as a food source for live corals, which will suffer loss of zooxanthelae after subjected to temperature stress. The tests will be developed at the headquarters of the company AquaSmart, which is sending this proposal. The species selected for the experiments are: Acropora sp. Oken, 1815 and Pocillopora sp. Lamarck, 1816. A complete structure will be set up with four aquariums, two controls and two for the experiment with microalgae, as an alternative nutritional source. Bleaching will be induced by increasing the temperature (6°C), after that maintained for 48 h and then the temperature will return to 26°C and will be kept constant. To certify the result after treatment with the microalgae, a collection of the test animal's tissue will be extracted for zooxanthelae counting. Thus, it is expected to evaluate the effectiveness of the natural compound of marine microalgae concentrate for the treatment of coral bleaching, observing the return of its natural pigmentation and the number of symbiotic algae cells in its tissue; Obtain a product for the recovery of bleached corals, and offer it to the aquarium market; and finally the recovery of bleached corals in an easy, accessible and economically viable way. (AU)

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