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Fighting fish parasites with photodynamically active chlorophyllin


Water-soluble chlorophyll (chlorophyllin) was used in a phototoxic reaction against a number of fish ectoparasites such as Ichtyobodo, Dactylogyrus, Trichodina, and Argulus. Chlorophyllin is applied to the water at concentrations of several micrograms per milliliter for a predefined incubation time, and afterwards, the parasites are exposed to simulated solar radiation. Application in the dark caused only little damage to the parasites; likewise, light exposure without the addition of the photosensitizer was ineffective. In Ichthyobodo, 2 μg/mL proved sufficient with subsequent simulated solar radiation to almost quantitatively kill the parasites, while in Dactylogyrus, a concentration of about 6 μg/mL was necessary. The LD50 value for this parasite was 1.02 μg/mL. Trichodina could be almost completely eliminated at 2 μg/mL. Only in the parasitic crustacean Argulus, no killing could be achieved by a photodynamic reaction using chlorophyllin. Chlorophyllin is non-toxic, biodegradable, and can be produced at low cost. Therefore, we propose that chlorophyllin (or other photodynamic substances) are a possible effective countermeasure against several ectoparasites in ponds and aquaculture since chemical remedies are either forbidden and/or ineffective.

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This work was supported by the Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, Bundesprogramm Ökologischer Landbau (FKZ 08OE040). The authors thank S. Wohllebe for her excellent work during the experiments.

Author information

Correspondence to D.-P. Häder.

Ethics declarations

All animal experiments were approved by the Government of Central Franconia (request-numbers 4–2532.1-18/09 and 54–2532.1-1/11) according to § 8 Protection of Animals Act. All experiments were carried out with the common carp (C. carpio) at the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture, Institute for Fisheries, Höchstadt, Germany.

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Häder, D., Schmidl, J., Hilbig, R. et al. Fighting fish parasites with photodynamically active chlorophyllin. Parasitol Res 115, 2277–2283 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-016-4972-y

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  • Chlorophyllin
  • Photodynamic reaction
  • Parasitology
  • Fish
  • Ectoparasite
  • Ichtyobodo
  • Dactylogyrus
  • Trichodina
  • Argulus
  • Photochemistry
  • Aquaculture