Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research
Project Number: 6420-32000-024-00
Start Date: Dec 14, 2009
End Date: Dec 13, 2014
Fish farmers continue to identify disease as a significant negative impact on profitability. Therefore, the goal of this project is to improve fish health and reduce this negative impact. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, we will accomplish four objectives that address important questions about bacterial diseases that affect the catfish (e.g., Edwardsiella ictaluri, Flavobacterium columnare) and tilapia (e.g., Streptococcus iniae, S. agalactiae) industries. Studies will be conducted at the gene, protein, individual, and/or population levels. Questions remain about some barriers to optimum vaccine efficacy in the field and about the responses of current and future strains of fish to pathogens and vaccines. Therefore, Objective 1 will determine population and strain responses to vaccines and infectious pathogens (e.g., E. ictaluri, F. columnare), using genetically characterized fish. In most intensive aquaculture production systems, multiple pathogens are present and result in mortality. Objective 2 will determine characteristics of coinfections and their role in disease processes in aquaculture and aquatic environments. Objective 3 will identify microbial pathogen genes and pathways critical for host pathogenesis and immunity that will provide important information for future vaccine development. Objective 4 will develop and validate new and novel pathogen detection tests for E. ictaluri, F. columnare, S. iniae and S. agalactiae so that these can be used in fish health management. The results from this work will contribute to present and future vaccine development, provide useful management information about farm use of vaccines and coinfections, and leverage development of future catfish strains being developed for the industry.