CALS Solution for Deadly Shrimp Disease to Become Available Worldwide

Two Pacific White Shrimp side by side. The one on the left is afflicted with early mortality syndrome and will die within 12 to 24 hours from destruction of its hepatopancreas, a digestive organ. The diseased shrimp shows an empty stomach, an empty midgut and a pale hepatopancreas. Its healthy counterpart on the right shows a full stomach and midgut and a normally pigmented hepatopancreas. (Photo: Don Lightner)
Two Pacific White Shrimp side by side. The one on the left is afflicted with early mortality syndrome and will die within 12 to 24 hours from destruction of its hepatopancreas, a digestive organ. The diseased shrimp shows an empty stomach, an empty midgut and a pale hepatopancreas. Its healthy counterpart on the right shows a full stomach and midgut and a normally pigmented hepatopancreas. (Photo: Don Lightner)
A bacterial disease called early mortality syndrome is killing off the stocks of the world's three largest shrimp producers: Thailand, China and Vietnam. In some places, production is down by nearly 50 percent from last year.
 
But there is hope. Don Lightner in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences at the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a solution for detecting the bacteria in the stocks, allowing infected populations to be separated from healthy ones.
 
Lightner and Assistant Staff Scientist Linda Nunan have created a rapid diagnostic test capable of detecting the genetic differences between the pathogenic and non-pathogenic versions of the common marine bacterium, called Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which causes the disease. This method will enable specific detection of affected shrimp, currently only identified through the use of histology, which is time consuming and expensive. A rapid polymerase chain reaction test for the detection of this pathogen will be the first on the market and is critically needed by the shrimp producing industry.
 
To get the solution into the hands of shrimp farmers, Lightner connected with Tech Launch Arizona, the UA's technology commercialization office. Through TLA, the UA entered into a licensing agreement with GeneReach Biotechnology Corp. to commercialize the solution and make it available worldwide.
 
Read the rest of this January 13, 2014 UANews article at the link below.
Date released: 
Jan 22 2014
Contact: 
Paul Tumarkin