A PCR-based method to detect early mortality syndrome (EMS) of shrimp,
developed by a Tainan-based research team led by Chu-Fang Lo, Dean of
the College of Life Sciences at National Cheng Kung University (NCKU),
in cooperation with Dr. Tim Flegel from Thailand, was announced by the
university Monday at a press conference in Taipei.
Lo also announced that the primers and protocol were being put into the
public domain, which is definitely thrilling news for shrimp researchers
around the world, as it will help to control outbreaks of this disease.
Lo's team cooperated with Flegel from Mahidol University for the last
few months and developed a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method to
detect EMS, also called acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND),
a disease of cultured shrimp.
"We decided to relase, free for public access, detailed information on
the sequences and protocols from our research for a PCR-based detection
method for bacteria causing AHPND, since there are currently severe,
widespread outbreaks of this disease," Lo said.
She also noted that the bacteria causing AHPND belong to Vibrio
parahaemolyticus (VP), but they have unique plasmids not present in
Lo's team used a whole-genome sequencing strategy to identify the
plasmids as targets for detection and they designed two pairs of primers
(AP1 and AP2) for the PCR method, a rapid test to detect virulent VP.
"If shrimp has virulent VP, the AP1 and AP2 primers will identify the VP
and give a positive reaction," explained Lo.
AHPND is causing high mortality in farm-raised shrimp in China, Vietnam,
Thailand and Malaysia, according to Lo, who noted that the disease,
first reported in 2009, now causes annual losses exceeding $1 billion.
These outbreaks were characterized as AHPND, in the absence of any
accompanying sign of an infectious agent, during the early cultivation
period of approximately 35 days.
The rapid PCR method to determine if shrimp is infected with the
bacterium that causes AHPND will be highly beneficial to the
shrimp-producing industry, Dr. Lo said.
Also, quick detection of AHPND could be very valuable for the
aquaculture/seafood market, according to Lo.
She said, "release of this critical information will assist interested
stakeholders to develop measures to reduce the risk of AHPND outbreaks."
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