Smarter Application Improves Catfish Vaccine
December 7, 2006
New vaccination processes could
improve the efficiency and effectiveness of catfish vaccines, according to a
study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in the agency's
Animal Health Research Unit, Auburn, Ala.
Diseases like enteric septicemia and columnaris cost the U.S. catfish
industry an estimated $50-70 million per year.
ARS molecular biologist
Klesius and aquatic pathologist
Evans invented two vaccines to immunize catfish against these diseases. The
vaccines were patented and licensed to international vaccine manufacturer
Intervet for distribution.
The team received technology transfer awards from both ARS and the
Federal Laboratory Consortium for
their efforts. Now, new research is showing how the vaccines should be
administered for maximum influence.
Both vaccines can be given to channel catfish eggs about 24-48 hours before
hatching, a recent study found. This suggests they can be successfully
vaccinated during the "eyed-egg stage," when they are still in the
hatcherylong before they're exposed to pond pathogens. Currently, fish
are vaccinated when they are 10 days old, in the trucks that transport them to
the ponds where they will be raised.
The study also proved that the two vaccines could be administered
simultaneously, making the treatment more efficient. This is beneficial, as
both pathogens frequently appear in the same ponds.
The 10- to-15 minute process is easy, safe and effective. The catfish are
still protected against the disease 140 days after immunization.
Effective vaccines have multiple benefits, the most important of which is
improved fish health. Vaccinated fish also require fewer chemicals and
antibiotics to fight disease. And they grow faster than nonvaccinated fish,
which translates to higher profits for farmers. One study estimates that fish
farmers can increase their profits by about $2,000 per acre using vaccines like
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.