ImmumoPrecise Antibodies Ltd

Innovator | Ken Cain

One of the most dangerous diseases to trout and salmon raised in a broodstock program is Coldwater Disease. The pathogen is a worldwide problem for rainbow trout reared in fish hatcheries and for commercial aquaculture and resource enhancement.

In recent years, economic losses from this disease in Idaho’s trout industry alone are estimated at approximately $10 million annually and in the U.S. only a limited number of therapeutic treatments are available to combat its devastating effects.

Up to this point, diagnostic labs have primarily detected Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the pathogen that causes Coldwater Disease, using a time consuming culturing process.

However, a new licensing agreement between the University of Idaho and ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd. (IPA), a company that produces antibodies to many salmonid pathogens, will commercialize an important antibody for screening the aquatic pathogen Flavobacterium psychrophilum in salmon and trout broodstock.

According to the primary researcher Ken Cain, associate director of the Aquaculture Research Institute, the idea is for fish labs to be able to use the antibody to rank levels of infection in adult fish and determine the likelihood of transferring the infection to their offspring.

In order to detect and rank levels of infection, there are two assays, or protocols that have been developed: one that quantifies the level of infection in fish, and one that binds the antibody to the pathogen with a fluorescent tag that can be visualized easily under the microscope. Each assay makes it easier to detect and cull infected fish.

IPA plans to have diagnostic kits available for sale early next year.