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Behavioral assessment of low concentrations of citronella oil anesthetic for transporting Nile Tilapia

Grant number: 21/07442-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Fishery Resources and Fishery Engineering - Aquaculture
Principal Investigator:Rodrigo Egydio Barreto
Grantee:Giovanna Fernandes da Costa
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IBB). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


The use of synthetic anesthetics in aquaculture is common and has been used to minimize animal suffering during processes inherent to animal production, including fish. However, essential oils with sedative effects have been used as potential substitutes for these synthetic sedatives. These oils have been considered effective, as they quickly induce anesthesia, and are safe, as reflexes recovery is usually short. The most used essential oil is clove oil, but there is a range of other potentially usable essential oils that would allow us to diversify practical possibilities and encouragement of different production chains. Thus, a better understanding of these oils less used as a sedative is necessary for relation to both their beneficial effects in stressful processes and their adverse effects. A poorly explored potential candidate is the citronella essential oil extracted from some plants, such as Cymbopogon nardus (whose main compounds are geraniol and dihydrogeraniol). To evaluate important issues about citronella oil, in this project, we will use as an experimental model the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), a highly relevant animal for Brazilian and world aquaculture. Based on the previously described sedative and calming doses of citronella oil for tilapia, we will use the calming doses of oil and assess whether they mitigate harmful consequences (maladaptive behavioral changes and mortality) of procedures related to aquaculture that are known to be stressful: transport of animals and introduction into a new environment. (AU)

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