Start Date: Dec 14, 2004
End Date: Dec 13, 2009
The goal of this research project is to provide fish farmers and fish health managers tools for diagnosing and identifying pathogens and off-flavor compounds in aquaculture and to answer basic questions on disease transmission and epidemiology. The specific objective of the project include: 1) develop and apply rapid non-lethal methods to detect, diagnose and evaluate the effects of pathogens, off-flavor compounds and toxins in aquatic animals; 2) develop in vivo and in vitro models for addressing the mechanisms of disease for bacteria, parasites and toxins in aquatic animals and 3) determine risk factors and disease prevalence, incidence, sources and origin of economically important aquatic animal pathogens, especially, Edwardsiella ictaluri, E. tarda, Flavobacterium columnare, Streptococcus iniae, S. agalactiae, Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and Henneguya icatluri (cause of PGD). The approaches include development and testing of the specificity and sensitivity of monoclonal and polyclonal antibody assays, molecular probes (PCR) and detection systems focused on rapid non-lethal detection and identification of pathogens. The approach used for off-flavor compound detection will be canine olfactory detection. Basic studies on the mechanism of disease will be set up to address both horizontal and vertical transmission of the above disease agents. Studies will also be designed to address the effect of toxic compounds on fish in vivo (water borne exposure) and in vitro (i.e. on cell lines or primary cell cultures). The final objective will be completed using a multidisciplinary approach including microbiology, parasitology, immunology, histology and nutrition to answer questions on epidemiology. Meeting the objectives of this multifaceted project will provide information that can be used by fish farmers and aquatic health managers to help reduce the economic impact of health problems in aquatic animal production.