DAO 66:29-32 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao066029

Effect of Australian tea tree oil on Gyrodactylus spp. infection of the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

Dietmar Steverding*, Edward Morgan, Patrick Tkaczynski, Foster Walder, Richard Tinsley

School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK

ABSTRACT: Gyrodactylus spp. infections of commercially farmed fishes are responsible for significant economic losses. Existing treatments have proved uneconomic, stressful to the fishes, and ecologically damaging. Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds that exhibit a wide range of anti-microbial and anti-fungal activities. This study explored the possibility of using Australian tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil (TTO) to treat Gyrodactylus spp. infection on the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus. In the presence of 0.01% Tween 80 as an emulsifier, TTO treatments at concentrations between 3 and 30 ppmv (parts per million by volume) lowered the prevalence and significantly reduced the parasite burden of sticklebacks naturally infected with Gyrodactylus spp. In addition, Tween 80 alone exhibited parasiticidal activity against Gyrodactylus spp. These findings show the potential of TTO in combination with Tween 80 as an effective treatment of Gyrodactylus spp. infection of fishes.


KEY WORDS: Australian tea tree oil · Tween 80 · Gyrodactylus · Monogenea · Three-spined stickleback


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