The University of Arizona
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
What has been done?
Transfer of the technologies developed by the APL has been accomplished through the publication of its research findings and methods in the professional literature, by presentations at international conferences, and by the teaching of its annual summer session shrimp pathology short course and special shrimp disease workshops in host countries. Seventeen regular summer session short courses have been given on the University of Arizona campus since the first was offered in 1989, and some 476 students from 53 countries or territories have been trained in diagnostic shrimp pathology in these courses. When the students from the more than 20 special workshops given abroad are added to the regular short course total, some 1,019 students had received formal training in shrimp pathology and diagnostic methods from the APL as of December 2005.
The program includes a laboratory and a primary quarantine facility which acquires wild or farmed shrimp and assesses the disease status of these stocks prior to their being introduced into domestic shrimp breeding programs. The laboratory was designated by the Office of International Epizootics (OIE) in 1993 as one of only two reference laboratories in the world for penaeid shrimp disease, and it subsequently became a USDA APHIS Approved Laboratory for shrimp diseases. The ideal geographic location of the UA, isolated from coastal waters, reduces to near zero the risk of accidental introduction of shrimp pathogens into the aquatic environment.
Much of what is known about shrimp diseases and the methods to diagnose and manage them were developed here. There are many hundreds of shrimp disease specialists working with the shrimp farming industry today, and many of these received much of their training directly or indirectly from the APL, including many of the 1,019 who participated in APL courses and workshops.
The APL remains a leader in shrimp disease research and in the past 1-3 years APL identified, characterized and named two new diseases from penaeid shrimp, as well as demonstrating that TSV, a shrimp picorna-like virus, is not a zoonotic threat to humans as had been incorrectly reported to the CDC by another research group. Of the two new diseases, Infectious Myonecrosis was found to be caused by a toti-like virus appropriately named IMNV. This disease caused more than $20 million in lost production in 2003, and another more than $40 million in 2004-2005, to Brazilian shrimp farmers. Because it poses a significant threat to shrimp farming worldwide, IMNV is a candidate for disease listing by the OIE. The second new disease was spiroplasmosis, a presumably new and very interesting disease of farmed shrimp that broke out first in shrimp farms in Colombia. APL has named the causative agent Spiroplasma penaei.
The APL also conducted the primary quarantine on stocks of Pacific white shrimp in Tucson, producing the founder populations of pathogen-free stock that were later propagated and distributed by the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii to domestic broodstock producers and eventually to commercial shrimp farmers throughout the world. The Pacific white shrimp variety has since become the dominant shrimp variety farmed worldwide.