Extract from Aloe vera was shown to reduce salmon gut inflammation caused by soybean meal.

Aloe vera shown to benefit fish on soybean diets

Anti-inflammatory effects of plant gel would maintain intestinal health of salmon


Chilean scientists have determined that an Aloe vera extract reduces intestinal inflammation caused by the inclusion of soybean meal in Atlantic salmon diets.

In their study, the researchers distributed fish into groups that each received a different diet for 28 days: fish meal control diet (FM); Aloe vera inclusion diet (AV), FM diet supplemented with AV (FM+AV); soybean meal (SBM) diet to induce enteritis; and SBM+AV.

The fish gut response to these treatments was analysed by histopathological scores, tissue morphometric measurements and immune gene expression parameters.

The score results in fish fed with SBM-based diet clearly showed enteritis, meanwhile fish fed with AV supplemented diet significantly reduced the intestinal SBM signs of damage.


Dr Karen Fehrmann, an academic at the University of the Americas and primary author of the study, told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.cl, that the Aloe vera gel contains a solids fraction rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, provitamin A (beta-carotene), phenolic compounds, anthrones, chromones, organic salts, glycoproteins, lipids, among others, which would help generate anti-inflammatory effects in the intestine of fish.

“These components act synergistically, activating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory system, thus reducing the damage at the cellular level produced by free radicals and reducing inflammation mediators,” said Fehrmann.

The scientist said Aloe vera extract could be used in diets with high percentages of soybean meal of more than over 30%, “without worrying that the process is generating inflammation at the intestinal level”.

Better health

“The fish will maintain a better health status, achieving greater nutritional/economic efficiency and at the same time promoting animal welfare, which is key,” added Fehrmann.

The next steps of the study are to carry out trials of longer duration, to determine the effects of the diet on nutritional performance and to delve further into the molecules responsible for the protective effect of Aloe vera.

Additionally, Fhermann points out that the regenerative effect of Aloe vera and its benefits in the salmon industry are being studied.

“We hope to be able to generate some link with the industry in the short-medium term in such a way that these results can reach the national production systems and not remain only on paper or in the laboratory,” she said.

Read the full study titled “Aloe vera reduces gut inflammation induced by soybean meal in Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar )”, published in the journal Frontiers in Animal Science, here.