Weekly Overview: University of Arizona Release PCR Test for Early Mortality Syndrome

14 January 2014, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - The University of Arizona, US, is releasing a PCR test that detects the bacteria causing the deadly shrimp disease Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS).

To get the solution into the hands of shrimp farmers, Dr Donald Lightner connected with Tech Launch Arizona, the university's technology commercialisation office. Through TLA, the university entered into a licensing agreement with GeneReach Biotechnology Corp. to commercialise the solution and make it available worldwide.

"In commercialising this technology, we're creating the pathways to get it out to the people who need it as quickly and efficiently as possible," Mr Hockstad said.

"We all share a common goal: to transfer and translate Dr Lightner's technology into diagnostic products to help the shrimp farming industry promptly," said GeneReach CEO Grace Chang.

Scientists from Rothamsted Research, UK, have successfully created a terrestrial source of fish oils, which could take the pressure of marine resources.

The team has created false flax (Camelina sativa) plants which accumulate high levels of Omega-3 oils EPA and DHA in their seeds.

By engineering the metabolic processes, the seed can produce up to 12 per cent EPA and 14 per cent DHA, amounts very similar to those found in fish oil.

Following on from China's announcement that it had banned the import of geoduck clams from the west coast of America due to findings of arsenic, Washington State officials have carried out their own testing.

Tests on the edible parts of the clams showed that they are safe to eat and there are no health concerns. Only one test found evidence of arsenic, but this was in the inedible part of the clam meaning it does not pose a threat to human health.

Canadian aquaculture company Cooke aquaculture may soon have a stake in the Chilean aquaculture sector as it is in negotiations for the purchase of Pesca Chile. Pescanova had tried to hold off the sale of the company until May/June 2014, but it was rejected by the creditors.

In disease news, the Netherlands has announced that it detected its first case of Koi Sleepy Disease back in the Autumn of 2013.