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Arizona Company Awarded Federal Grant to Fight Devastating Shrimp Diseases

Crustaceans Health Economics +4 more

US - TransGenada Enterprises has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), part of the USDA, to create commercially viable, near immunized strains of Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) using their proprietary mechanism to deliver targeted and unique genetic traits.

"The immune system of these shrimp will be strengthened against some of the most devastating diseases by using the latest biotechnological advances," the grant’s project director and TransGenada’s CEO, Jeremy Eugene Ellis, PhD, said.

Unlike other solutions currently available, the disease resistance imparted by TransGenada’s technology will provide these shrimp with virtual immunity that will bestow the shrimp an inherent ability to survive impending epidemics.

In aquaculture, where shrimp and fish are grown on farms rather than caught, disease represents a devastating source of loss as well as a major barrier for innovation and a substantial threat to the food sector’s ability to meet the public’s growing demand for food.

"Since we started in 2010, our goal has always been to help innovate shrimp aquaculture. Our goals originate from our belief that this industry has the greatest potential to not only benefit from our technology but also to create an enduring value for the public," Dr Ellis said.

"We appreciate the confidence the United States Department of Agriculture has placed in us and we are looking forward to seeing the change our products will bring about," he added.

The cost of disease in shrimp farming has been estimated at $3 billion US dollars annually, representing up to 40 per cent of the total production capacity of the industry.