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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Strategies for Fish Disease Control and Prevention

Location: Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center

Project Number: 6225-32000-005-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 12, 2009
End Date: Nov 11, 2014

Objective:
The long-term objective of this project is to characterize the pathogenesis of fish diseases and to develop approaches to control diseases in warm water fishes. Over the next 5 years, our project at the Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Center (SNARC) will focus on the following objectives: Objective 1. Characterize genetic variation of white bass and sunshine bass resistance to columnaris and develop strategies to control columnaris in warm water aquaculture. Subobjective 1A. Develop a Flavobacterium columnare disease model in white bass (Morone chrysops) and sunshine bass (female Morone chrysops x male M. saxitalis). Determine whether there is genetic variation for survival of white bass and sunshine bass in response to columnaris infection (Darwish and Mitchell). Subobjective 1B. Characterize Flavobacterium columnare virulence genes using real-time PCR to evaluate gene expression (Straus). Objective 2. Evaluate compounds and methods to treat bacterial and fungal (columnaris, streptococcosis, and saprolegniasis) fish diseases. Subobjective 2A. Control columnaris in channel catfish with copper sulfate (Darwish, Mitchell, and Straus). Subobjective 2B. Control saprolegniasis on channel catfish eggs and improving hatch rate by chemical means (Mitchell and Straus). Subobjective 2C. Evaluate caprylic acid to control streptococcosis in sunshine bass (Darwish). These objectives are designed to address current research concerns of stakeholders and will help in the ultimate goal of better treatments for disease epizootics resulting in higher profits for producers.

Approach:
Objective 1. An infection method will be developed for white bass and sunshine bass to produce consistent mortalities similar to a natural infection of the bacterial disease columnaris caused by F. columnare. Resistance to columnaris will be characterized in families of sunshine bass and white bass, and maternal and paternal effects will be determined. The expression level of the putative virulence genes (identified by sequence comparison) in F. columnare will be characterized to provide insight into bacterial pathogenesis. Reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR methods will be developed and used to profile the transcript level of selected genes in isolates of high and low pathogenicity. Objective 2. The efficacy of CuSO4 against columnaris will be tested in vitro using micro-dilution assays and in vivo by using four treatment levels of CuSO4 against a columnaris disease model simulating a natural infection. The scenarios used to expose channel catfish to CuSO4 prior to bacterial challenge based on previous work will consist of either pre-exposure to CuSO4 dissolved in the water or pre-exposure to CuSO4 incorporated in feed. Research will be designed to improve the effectiveness of CuSO4, H2O2, and formalin to fungi on channel catfish eggs and on the hatch rate of these eggs. A new aquaculture therapeutant (peracetic acid) will be used to treat saprolegniasis on intact channel catfish eggs in hatching troughs. The concentration of caprylic acid that inhibits the bacteria S. iniae will be determined in vitro and its potential efficacy will be assessed against an experimental S. iniae infection in sunshine bass.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014
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