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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Research Project #440430

Research Project: Improving Catfish Health

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Project Number: 6066-31320-006-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2021
End Date: May 31, 2026

Conduct research focused on diseases that limit production efficiency in commercially raised catfish. Research addresses NP 106 Action Plan Component 1B: Improving the Efficiency and Sustainability of Catfish Aquaculture; Reduce the Impacts of Disease in Catfish Aquaculture. Projects will focus on development of rapid molecular-based diagnostic tests used in disease surveillance, disease treatment and prevention, and development of best management practices that lessen the impact of infectious and non-infectious diseases.

The proposed research will focus on practical problems in catfish health or disease that limit catfish production in the southeastern United States. 1) Identify emergent pathogens in and develop disease diagnostic methodologies for field surveillance studies; characterize and evaluate pathogenesis of emergent diseases and fulfillment of Koch’s postulates or River’s postulate for newly recognized or emergent pathogens; and develop rapid diagnostic tests and ELISA procedures to determine total and antigen specific antibody for epidemiological studies. 2) Develop primary catfish cell lines for identification and confirmation of fish viruses, determine the spatio-temporal distribution of channel catfish virus (CCV) isolates, and evaluate trends in occurrence and virulence of different genetic strains of CCV in channel and hybrid catfish. 3) Optimize Edwardsiella ictaluri vaccine delivery, evaluate economic impact of a live, attenuated E. ictaluri vaccine in commercial fingerling and foodfish production, evaluate cross protective potential of E. ictaluri vaccine against other Edwardsiella species, and determine the significance of genetic E. piscicida variants recovered from commercially cultured hybrid and channel catfish. 4) Determine the role of myxozoans other than Henneguya ictaluri and the intraspecific variability of oligochaete hosts in the occurrence of proliferative gill disease (PGD) in channel and hybrid catfish; evaluate the pathophysiological effects of trematodes in hybrid and channel catfish. 5) Investigate the epidemiology of Aeromonas hydrophila infections in catfish aquaculture and use predictive modeling to determine risk factors; and evaluate disease transmission of emergent Vibrio spp. infections in hatchery fry.