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Weekly Overview: Simple Test Developed to Detect Pancreas Disease Causing Virus

Lucy Towers
06 December 2016, at 12:00am

GLOBAL - Scientists from the University of Glasgow, UK, working with major companies in the aquaculture industry, have discovered a simple test can be used to detect Atlantic salmon infected with salmonid alpha virus, which causes pancreas disease.

Pancreas disease can cause significant losses in farmed Atlantic salmon due to morbidity, mortality and reduced production.

The researchers found that salmon with pancreas disease had a major change in the proteins present in the blood, and further to that, that these protein changes could be detected using a simple procedure.

The test, called a selective precipitation reaction (SPR), has been patented by the team and could potentially be developed into a rapid analysis system allowing the disease to be diagnosed much earlier than is currently possible.

Glasgow University also announced this week that it has begun a project to better understand fish digestion through the creation of an artificial salmon gut.

The three-year project, named SalmoSim, aims to better understand the link between gut microbiota and the development and digestion of salmon.

This important and complex information will arm the fish farming industry with a sustainable response to increasing global demand for high quality farmed fish.

In other news, researchers in Denmark are using genomics for more targeted breeding of rainbow trout towards adaptations to different production environments worldwide.

Teams from Aarhus University and AquaSearch farm ApS will now develop a breeding tool that allows breeders to find the breeding fish with the best traits for a given production environment without having to test them in this environment first.

Instead, a DNA sample will reveal which parent fish will have optimal traits in a given production environment.

It is also hoped that this research could pave the way for an even larger export of eggs from rainbow trout.