Protecting Our Aquatic Food Supply
According to a report by the United Nations, 17 percent of animal protein consumed around the world in 2013 came from fish.
“Aquaculture in terms of fish, crustacean or other marine life is an important resource for global food production,” said Michael Gotesman (New York City College of Technology). “However, aquaculture food production is susceptible to a plethora of diseases including viral, bacterial, and parasitic.”
Gotesman and colleagues recently reviewed modern approaches to studying, detecting, and treating aquatic diseases, all of which help protect this important source of food. The team surveyed 146 studies on the subject, analyzing up-and-coming methods in order to guide other researchers in the field.
Their work appears in BMC Veterinary Research.
“We are pleased to report that the aquaculture field is incorporating the most up to-date techniques for detection and characterization of diseases,” Gotesman said, “and is testing novel methods to treat and eliminate harmful pathogens.”
In an ideal world the aquatic food industry would use measures like vaccination to prevent a disease outbreak from happening. However, the investigators say, this isn’t always feasible. Fortunately, newer strategies such as CRISPR/Cas-based medicine — genome editing — have great potential.
“Having up to-date and rapid detection and treatment strategies to contain outbreaks of aquatic pathogens will safeguard global aquatic-based food supplies,” Gotesman said.
Collaborators included the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany.