The effects of chloramphenicol and streptomycin/penicillin on the concentration of heterotrophic bacteria in biofilms associated with abalone postlarval culture and on the growth and survival of Haliotis rufescens postlarvae (3–5 days old) were studied under laboratory conditions. Two experiments were carried out in 12-well polystyrene tissue culture plates with 5 mL of 1-μm-filtered autoclaved seawater. Water was changed every other day and antibiotics were added during the water change. Experimental units were previously inoculated with the benthic diatom Navicula incerta. In the first experiment chloramphenicol at 0, 5, 10, and 20 mg L−1 was used and a mixture of streptomycin and penicillin at 0/0, 50/50, 100/100, and 150/150 mg L−1 was tested in the second experiment (in both cases with three replicates). Bacterial counts (Zobell plates) were performed for a period of 4 and 5 wk (experiments 1 and 2, respectively). Bacterial densities decreased 90% in 20 mg L−1 of chloramphenicol during the first 48 h; however, bacterial counts increased in all treatments thereafter and differences were not significant at the end of the experiment. The growth of abalone postlarvae was not significantly different among treatments. In the experiment with antibiotic mixtures, bacterial abundance was reduced 99% at the highest concentration (150/150) in the first 48 h, and remained significantly lower than the control for 2–3 wk. During this period, postlarval growth in this antibiotic treatment was also slower, as well as final survival, suggesting an important role of bacteria in the nutrition and/or digestion of abalone postlarvae. Results of this study also suggest that bacterial resistance to these antibiotics develops fast, discouraging their long-term use in abalone culture.
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Vol. 26 • No. 3