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New treatment tackles costly parasitic disease for freshwater farmed and ornamental fish

A new treatment has been developed for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a parasite commonly found in freshwater fish which could save the ornamental and farmed fish industries billions of euro per year.

Food and Natural Resources icon Food and Natural Resources

A compound was first identified by researchers from the EU-funded ParaFishControl project, which examines fish-parasite interactions in aquaculture. Its effectiveness in treating certain parasitic diseases led researchers to submit a patent for its production. The treatment was first tested on the I. multifiliis parasite, which causes white spot disease in a range of freshwater fish. The disease is highly damaging for both the ornamental and farmed fish industries due to its high mortality rate. A new company, Sundew, has been founded to further develop and commercialise the compound. The Copenhagen-based SME will facilitate the development of large-scale production and purification of the product, which it has named BIOKOS. The need for new treatments arose following the ban of malachite green, which was found to be carcinogenic and genotoxic. No other compound to date has been as effective for control of the infection. Sundew researchers are hopeful that BIOKOS will be in high demand in both the aquaculture and ornamental production markets. Aquaculture production alone is valued at over €5 billion per year in the EU. This new treatment, and many other results originating from the past five years of research within ParaFishControl, will be presented at the project’s Final Conference “Innovative Strategies to Control Parasites in Aquaculture Farms” in Brussels on 11 March 2020. For further information and to register, please visit To learn more about ParaFishControl, please visit the website at or follow the project on Twitter @ParaFishControl Notes for Editors ParaFishControl is an EU H2020-funded project that aims to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the European aquaculture industry. It improves our understanding of fish-parasite interactions and develops innovative solutions and tools for the prevention, control and mitigation of the most harmful parasitic species affecting the main European farmed fish species. For press enquires contact Emma Bello Gomez


aquaculture, freshwater, h2020, horizon 2020, treatment, white spot disease