Manual vaccination on farmed salmon. (Photo: Fisheries Norwies Norway)
Oral vaccines for farmed fish under development
Saturday, December 22, 2012, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
Bionaturis biotechnology company has launched a project seeking more effective alternatives to vaccination in farmed fish, without having to manually vaccinate them.
The initiative, called Aquafly, will be developed in collaboration with the Department of Chemical Engineering, Food Technology and Environmental Technologies, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cadiz and the Andalusian Aquaculture Technology Centre, (Ctaqua).
The project arose from the research, development and innovation (R + D + I) Bionaturis made in the field of aquaculture after acknowledging the needs of this sector.
The expert team researches and develops new oral prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines, based on Flylife platform and production system (the use of insect larvae as bioreactors for the production of biological drugs), Bionaturis reported.
The investigation will last three years and will be funded by the Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA).
Researchers explain that the increased density of fish in farms causes a higher concentration of pathogens and with them, the appearance of diseases in fish. An estimated 20 per cent of aquaculture production is lost due to the onset of diseases.
Thanks to Flylife technological platform, the group aims to develop "vaccines and other treatments to be orally administered in a safe and effective way against some major pathogens affecting current aquaculture,” Dr. Ana de las Heras, Bionaturis scientist responsible for the project management, explained.
"So far, for most treatments, injection is the only way that has proved really effective, but has major limitations due to cost and management," the researcher added.
"Not only the stress generated by the handling, but the fish size can limit the use of injectable vaccines in smaller fish, where vaccination against some pathogens is more convenient and effective," she informed.
Currently, Spanish aquaculture generates around EUR 500 million, and the region of Andalusia contributes 11 per cent of that total.
By Analia Murias