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European Researchers Tackle Parasitic Diseases in Aquaculture

8 December 2016, at 12:00am

EU - A new European Union funded research project is addressing the challenges of disease prevention and management to protect the sustainability and competitiveness of the European aquaculture industry.

In September, over 70 researchers became involved in the ParaFishControl project, from 13 European countries as well as Canada, came together in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss their latest research findings and to map out their future research strategies.

Their task - to improve understanding of fish-parasite interactions and to develop respective management tools.

For example: diagnostic tests, vaccines, risk maps, and best practice handbooks and management manuals for the prevention, control and mitigation of the most harmful parasitic species affecting key European farmed fish species.

ParaFishControl Project Coordinator Dr Ariadna Sitjà-Bobadilla, from Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain explained: “This has been an exciting time for ParaFishControl! The project is only in its initial stages, but we have already made significant progress and published 11 scientific papers. The ParaFishControl published research includes: the effects of nematode worms on fish and consumer health, the role of fungal communities as suppressors of other fungi, and the decrease in intensity of infection of a gill parasite of gilthead sea bream after feeding infected fish with a mixture of compounds. We have also described, for the first time in Europe, a two-host life cycle of a parasitic myxozoan species and we have comprehensively reviewed the ‘macrophages first’ hypothesis for polarized immune responses.”

“Another partner, the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), has been working on turbot scuticociliatosis, a disease caused by protozoans, which has been recognized as an emerging problem, inflicting significant economic loss in the global aquaculture industry, by affecting different fish species. Researchers at USC have discovered that the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and artemisinin as well as the chemical substance curcumin which is produced by some plants inhibit some enzymes of this parasite. These findings highlight potential for treating this disease in aquaculture,” Dr Sitjà-Bobadilla added.

For a list of all publications, please visit:


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