Fisheries Professor Highlights Probiotics Project at Legislative Luncheon

Tuesday, February 5 2013

Ken Cain was one of the speakers highlighting projects funded by the State Board of Education (SBOE) at a legislation luncheon in Boise on Feb. 4.

Cain, professor in the department of fish and wildlife sciences and associate director of U-Idaho’s Aquaculture Research Institute, spoke about his work with probiotics and their use to increase disease resistance in fish and their application in Aquaculture.

Cain said that his lab has recently isolated specific probiotic bacterial strains that occur naturally in the GI tracts of rainbow trout. These bacteria can then be fed to other fish to increase their ability to withstand diseases.

The SBOE-funded project focused on testing prototypes for delivering probiotics commercially. U-Idaho has partnered with Aquatic Life Sciences, a well-known aquatic animal health company, to complete the laboratory and field testing essential for licensing and commercialization of such a product. The university filed a patent application on the probiotics in April 2012. Cain said he expects to learn about the status of that application in the next several months.

Cain has received national recognition through several Innovation awards from the U-Idaho Office of Technology Transfer for his work leading to a patent for a vaccine for Cold Water Disease in fish and for licensed technology leading to the commercialization of specific tools that aid in fish disease diagnostics.