Tilapia is a species of fish that lives in freshwater ponds, rivers, and lakes. Tilapia are especially important in aquaculture and aquaponics since their diets are strictly plant-based, which makes them inexpensive to farm. The Tilapia feeds on algae while living in the wild, and on corn and soybeans when living on a farm. Tilapia is high in vitamin B-12, which helps the body maintain its nervous system, helps the body make DNA, and produces red blood cells. Tilapia is also very low in fat, carbohydrates, and calories.
In Brazil, Tilapia is especially important. Not only does Brazil use Tilapia as a food source, they also use this fish skin in medicine. Fish skin is proven to be great for use on wounds and can even heal 3rd degree burns when put on the skin. Fish skin is applied like a bandage, with cream and gaze, the fish skin is wrapped around the wound or burns. When the fish skin is applied, many patients said that their pain was instantly relieved. Since Brazil doesn’t have access to most other animal skins that are used for wound healing, they have looked to freshwater for their solution.
In California, after a devastating forest fire, Dr. Jamie Peyton got a phone call from another veterinarian from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A young bear cub had been caught in the fire and was suffering from 3rd degree burns on its paws and feet. The burns were so bad the bear cub could not walk and was in pain just moving, and its life was in danger because of the severity of the burns. The veterinarians decided they had to help the one year old cub, since the bear was so young they expected her to be able to heal with the help of fish skin. The veterinarians applied a Tilapia skin bandage to her wounds. Dr. Jamie Peyton said that the fish skins did great and,“ provided pain control, protection, and acted as a collagen scaffold for wound healing. We have been very pleased because of the good results and the wound healed faster than expected.” The veterinarians involved with the cub’s healing process said they used a method from Brazil. The bear’s healing process has been speedy and the bear cub is in less pain each day.