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H2020

ParaFishControl Report Summary

Project ID: 634429
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ParaFishControl (Advanced Tools and Research Strategies for Parasite Control in European farmed fish)

Reporting period: 2015-04-01 to 2016-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The goal of ParaFishControl is to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the EU aquaculture industry by improving our understanding of fish-parasite interactions and by developing innovative solutions and tools for the prevention, control and mitigation of the most harmful parasitic species affecting the main European farmed fish species. Parasites and related infections can cause significant damages to farmed fish and can result in poor growth performance, impaired welfare, and high mortality rates with significant consequences in terms of production and economics. The different objectives are constructed through eight work packages.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

WP1
We established and are characterizing several new in vitro culture methods and in vivo infection models. We are collecting biological samples for sequencing of parasite genomes and transcriptomes and are including studies on the host response to these parasites by examining host transcriptome and proteome responses to parasite infection. We made substantial progress elucidating the life cycles, including transmission vectors, for poorly characterised parasites.
WP2
DNA of Sparicotyle chrysophrii (monogenean) and Ceratothoa oestroides (isopod) from wild and farmed fish was extracted to identify the best markers for differentiation between wild/farmed parasite populations. For Saprolegnia spp., most planned isolates from farmed and wild fish were collected and pure viable isolates were stored and molecular identification is running. Previous data on Ichthyophthirius multifilis had been tested in new models that show a high degree of likelihood.
WP3
Antigens that may serve to immunise fish against the protozoan parasite I. multifiliis were identified. New molecular techniques are being used to identify potentially protective antigens of S. parasitica and the myxozoans Enteromyxum leei, E. scophthalmi and Sphaerospora molnari. Several feeds containing immuno-stimulatory ingredients were tested in preliminary studies and provide promising reduction of parasite infection and improvement in the growth of parasitized fish.
WP4
Different methods for diagnosis of Paramoeba perurans, Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae and Enterospora nucleophila were reviewed and tested for analytical optimization, and they will be evaluated for a clinical validation and interlaboratory proficiency tests. A battery of new tests was developed or adapted for Philasterides dicentrarchi, S. parasitica, and S. molnari. Background genetic information was generated and analysed for the development of a new multiplex tests for zoonotic metacercariae, and for a quick LFD point-of-care test for Enteromyxum spp. A new anti- T. bryosalmonae mAb (P14G8) was produced and validated.
WP5
A list of 200 compounds that may have effects against parasites was compiled and some of them have been distributed to several project partners to test in vitro. Some results were already published: The effect of caprylic acid, iron and immunostimulants in gilthead sea bream against S. chrysophrii, the inhibitory and killing effect of several compounds against P. dicentrarchi, and the anti-parasite mechanisms of beneficial bacteria and fungi against Saprolegnia.
WP6
We have finished literature reviews of selected fish parasites to define risk factors relevant for parasite introduction into and amplification within fish farms. We started expert consultation to elucidate quantitative data. Work on the development of the models to assess economic impact of parasites and the effect of intervention strategies started. Work on a Biobank to hold parasite samples and the metadata associated started and it was certified with the ISO 9001.
WP7
We have successfully established marine and freshwater surveys to obtain reliable epidemiological results of zoonotic helminths. We collected and analysed thousands of samples from Europe (Spain, Greece, Turkey, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Norway and Croatia) of Atlantic salmon, turbot, gilthead sea bream, European sea bass, rainbow trout and common carp.
WP8
Project logo, factsheet, presentation templates, public website and e-newsletters were developed. Several promotional articles and first press releases were published and sent to specialised press and industrial associations. A detailed DEP was implemented. A Knowledge Management system and a Knowledge Output Template was developed to manage all knowledge from the project. Already 11 scientific publications hwere published and over 20 scientific presentations were given at national and international conferences.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

WP1
The complementary expertise of the research and industrial partners has led to the development of several innovative in vitro and in vivo set-ups to study host-parasite interactions. This will be the basis for the development of vaccines and high-throughput screening of pharmaceutical drugs against parasites.
WP2
Genetic markers and assays will be developed to assess the potential transfer of parasites between wild and farmed fish. These will help defining the most appropriate measures for farmers and policy makers to minimise wild/farmed fish interactions.
WP3
New technologies have identified vaccine antigens potentially capable of providing protective immune responses. Since there are no existing vaccines against any fish parasite, any progress in providing a vaccine can be considered a major step forward. New in-feed immuno-stimulants have also proven to be potentially efficacious. The impacts of these early findings have to be further tested and validated, however, the development they would revolutionise the management of parasitic diseases in European and global aquaculture.
WP4
WP4 is developing highly accurate and cost-effective diagnostic tools and methods to detect parasites in fish and in the environment. The impact of these improved tools will be crucial for an early detection of parasites, assisting stakeholders involved in management (diagnostic labs, fish health professionals and farmers) to quickly decide upon the most appropriate strategies to prevent spread of the disease.
WP5
This WP is focused on the development of treatments for parasites. The impact for the European Aquaculture industry will be strong, as the number of licensed available treatments is very limited. So far, sodium percarbonate and peracetic acid have been tested in vitro for effect on I. multifilis survival and resulted to be effective at concentrations safe for rainbow trout.
WP6
The identification of risk factors for parasite introduction into and amplification within aquaculture sites and quantification of their impact on aquaculture production provides the basis for the development of targeted, cost-efficient solutions, through the development of biosecurity and integrated pest management strategies.
WP7
The results of epidemiological surveys will determine the real impact of zoonotic helminths in European farmed fish. This will increase the competitiveness of Europe aquaculture sector, producing a remarkable socio-economic impact in this industrial sector and increasing the confidence of the final consumer in the aquaculture products.
WP8
Relevant project results will be transferred to the appropriate, identified stakeholders, ready for uptake in the immediate or foreseeable future. Through our linking with industry representatives and the targeted transfer of project outcomes, the project will create knowledge which will benefit the aquaculture sector overall.

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