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Researchers Investigate New Cure for Piscirickettsia Salmonis

01 August 2014

CHILE - Researchers are working on a vaccine against the bacteria Piscirickettsia salmonis that attacks salmon using wild plants in the Atacama Desert.

The development of aquaculture in Chile has increase in recent decades and 76 per cent of this production is salmon, said the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Therefore, infections that affect the national salmon farming industry can be a serious problem for the country.

"Globally, we are the second in importance, after Norway, in terms of salmon. Piscirickettsia salmonis has killed about 50 per cent of the national population of salmon and is therefore damaging to the industry," stressed Dr Brenda Modak.

In order to find effective solutions to this problem, Dr Modak, with a multidisciplinary team from the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, University of Santiago, looked at natural products with potential antibacterial activity against P. Salmonis.

"We tried to test the activity of natural products isolated from plants against this bacterium (P. Salmonis), which has been difficult to treat with antibiotics commonly used. However, our compounds have been successful as antiviral and immunostimulatory in salmon; so the idea of testing them in already infected salmon came," said the academic.

To develop a cure, researchers worked with plants growing wild in the Atacama Desert, which due to the harsh environment in which they are immersed, produce a resin that surrounds them.

"We have seen that the resin is formed by two groups of compounds, from where we will take some examples and test them against bacteria," said the specialist. 

TheFishSite News Desk

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