Submitted to: American Society for Microbiology Branch Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2004
Publication Date: October 22, 2004
Citation: Delaney, M.A. 2004. Why fisheries personnel need microbiologists. American Society for Microbiology Branch Meeting. Technical Abstract: The U.S. is the world's largest seafood consumer; however future supplies are threatened by rising populations and declining/steady natural fisheries stocks. At present the U.S. is heavily dependent on imported seafood (40 %+). Further development of a sustainable domestic aquaculture industry can offset dependence on imported products and help ensure the quality for the U.S. seafood consumer. Fish farmers in the U.S. currently report that disease related mortality represents the major economic loss to the aquaculture industry. Only two antibiotics are approved for treatment of microbial fish diseases and many fish populations have developed resistance to these antibiotics. Flavobacterium columnare (columnaris), Edwardsiella ictaluri (enteric septicemia of catfish), and Streptococcus iniae are the primary bacterial diseases in the Southeast affecting catfish and tilapia farmers. For example: Edwardsiella ictaluri, the causative agent of enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), is responsible for $ 60 million in annual losses to catfish farmers in the Southeast. Microbiologists are no longer confined to the laboratory producing media to grow bacteria day after day. They also must be able to identify a microorganism which can include bacteria, mycoplasms, oomycetes, algae etc., and be able to extract various components of these organisms in order to produce an identification. A combination of traditional techniques, using molecular methods (including PCR and Real Time PCR), GC/MS and others are required for detection of pathogens and for correct diagnosis of disease. These factors are necessary to understand the host-pathogen relationship and epizootiological features of fish diseases, and methods to control losses from these diseases.