Pest ap­proach

Un­con­ven­tional ex­per­i­ment pro­vides

Fish Farmer - - Contents -

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Stir­ling’s In­sti­tute of Aqua­cul­ture have de­vel­oped an un­likely new method to bet­ter un­der­stand the bac­te­ria that cause dis­eases of fish in aqua­cul­ture. How­ever, this new tech­nique has no need for fish – in­stead it re­lies on cater­pil­lars of a moth species that is dam­ag­ing bee pop­u­la­tions world­wide.

Dr An­drew Des­bois and PhD stu­dent Stu­art McMil­lan found that the fish pathogen Vib­rio an­guil­larum which causes vib­rio­sis in fish could in­fect cater­pil­lars of the greater wax moth. Cru­cially, the team found that the vir­u­lence of dif­fer­ent strains of this bac­terium were sim­i­lar when in­jected into salmon and the cater­pil­lar.

‘It may seem sur­pris­ing to think that cater­pil­lars can help us un­der­stand how bac­te­ria in­fect and harm fish, but many in­nate im­mune sys­tem com­po­nents are sim­i­lar in fish and in­sect blood,’ said Dr Des­bois.

‘As such, the en­vi­ron­ment to which the bac­terium must adapt to cause in­fec­tion is sim­i­lar in­side the in­sect as it is in a salmon or trout.’

The un­con­ven­tional model is in­ex­pen­sive to run, eth­i­cally more ac­cept­able than stud­ies on fish and safe be­cause the in­sects are con­fined to the lab­o­ra­tory and dis­posed of with other con­tam­i­nated waste to pre­vent in­ad­ver­tent re­lease into the en­vi­ron­ment.

Im­por­tantly, the new ap­proach may help

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