Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - PATHMEDA (Pathogens and parasites in Mediterranean aquaculture)

Research on pathogens and parasites of fish in Mediterranean aquaculture is less developed than that in Atlantic waters. A shorter tradition in industrial aquaculture and generally weaker research and development structures in Mediterranean countries are factors that probably account for this imbalance. Recent efforts to diversify Mediterranean aquaculture imply the use of new species of fish, whose pathogens and parasites are still relatively unknown. In order to address this challenge, the PATHMEDA fellowship developed a research programme on diagnosis and immune response to pathogens and parasites of interest for Mediterranean fish farming.

PATHMEDA was devoted to developing molecular techniques for diagnosis of emergent pathogens and evaluation of the immune response of fish to pathogens. Research was organised in two phases. A first, knowledge acquisition, phase consisted in secondments of staff from the host organisation, i.e. the University of Valencia, to the two partner organisations, namely the University of Copenhagen and the University of Bergen. In this phase, researchers from the host organisation were trained in state of the art techniques in diagnosis, molecular typing and fish immunology. In a second phase, the techniques acquired at the partner organisations were adapted and optimised to Mediterranean finfish species. The investigations focussed on developing molecular techniques of diagnosis of emergent pathogens, molecular typing of fish bacteria and evaluation of the immune response of Mediterranean species of fish to pathogens.

The most significant achievements of PATHMEDA were:

1. the development of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for the detection of infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) and nervous necrosis virus (GNNV) in eel and sea bass, respectively
2. the design and optimisation of a multiplex PCR procedure for detection of vibrio vulnificus biotype 2
3. the elucidation of pathogenesis and colonisation mechanisms of v. vulnificus in eels
4. the establishment of mechanisms of antibiotics resistance to v. vulnificus biotype 2 serovar E, and
5. new insights into quorum sensing, i.e. coordinated response of individual bacteria to extracellular stimuli in v. vulnificus.

PATHMEDA endeavoured to disseminate its research results and place them at the reach of potential end-users, i.e. fish farmers, natural resource managers, non-governmental organisation (NGOs) and consumers. Finally, the fellowship gave rise to 13 high quality scientific publications and several presentations in scientific meetings, which represented a fundamental contribution to the development of Mediterranean finfish aquaculture.

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