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The disposal of cacao pod husk, a byproduct of cacao bean processing, can cause serious adverse environmental impacts, motivating scientist to explore and develop potential beneficial applications of this resource. Dried cacao pod husk was extracted with ethanol to obtain a 10.6% pectin of cacao pod husks (pCPH), and its effects on the immunocompetence of Litopenaeus vannamei were estimated. Measured variables included total haemocyte count, differential haemocyte count, phenoloxidase activity, respiratory bursts, as well as phagocytic activity and clearance efficiency against Vibrio alginolyticus after receiving pCPH at 0, 1.5, 3, and 6 μg shrimp-1 for 0, 1, 3 and 7 days via injection, and their resistance to thermal stress and V. alginolyticus infection were further evaluated. No significant differences were observed in total haemocyte count, differential haemocyte count, and respiratory bursts in shrimp receiving pCPH at 1.5 μg shrimp-1 for 1 day; however, these variables were significantly elevated after 3 days of injection, compared to the control group. The significantly increased phenoloxidase activity was assessed in shrimp receiving pCPH at 1.5, 3 and 6 μg shrimp-1 within 3 days, and activity returned to the baseline after 7 days. Furthermore, the reduced phenoloxidase activity per granulocytes or respiratory bursts per haemocytes maintained homeostasis following the variation of haemogram. For gene expression assessments in haemocytes, the immune-related genes of the lipopolysaccharide and β-1,3-glucan binding protein, prophenoloxidase II and anti-lipopolysaccharide factor as well as innate immune signaling pathway-related genes of toll-like receptors 1 and 3 significantly increased after shrimp received pCPH for 1 day. The increases in phagocytic activity and clearance efficiency were only detected in shrimp receiving pCPH at 6 μg shrimp-1 within 7 days, compared to the control. There was no significant difference in the mortality ratio of shrimp against hyperthermal stress when they received pCPH for 1 day, and the significant higher resistance to hypothermal stress and V. alginolyticus infection were found in shrimp received pCPH at 6 μg shrimp-1 for 1 days than those in the other treatments. It is therefore found that pCPH triggers immune responses serving as an immunostimulant capable of enhancing resistance against V. alginolyticus and hypothermal stress. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Chia-Ling Lee, Chin-Chyuan Chang, Hsin-Wei Kuo, Winton Cheng. Pectin of cacao pod husk, an efficient immunostimulant for white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. Fish & shellfish immunology. 2020 Dec;107(Pt A):357-366

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PMID: 33132175

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