Integrated quorum quenching strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance in shrimp aquaculture (i-QAS)
Shrimp is one of the most important species in aquaculture and accounted for more than 50% of overall aquaculture production in 2016. Shrimp is also one of the target species in the Malaysia Economic Transformation Program, which aims to increase shrimp production and productivity. However, outbreaks of acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease, caused by Vibrio parahaemolyticus, affect the industry, causing serious economic losses. Recently, Vibrio sp. has shown multi-resistance towards antimicrobials. However, shrimp lack adaptive immunity, which makes vaccination ineffective, therefore, it is important to find new alternatives to prevent or treat infectious diseases affecting shrimp.
This project, implemented in collaboration with Universiti Putra Malaysia, seeks to test a novel technology that is based on disrupting the communication, called quorum sensing, that exists between microorganisms, including pathogens. It offers a promising alternative strategy to shrimp farmers to control bacterial pathogens. It will determine the best application methods of quorum quenchers to reduce Vibrio infections and antimicrobial resistance in a simple and cost-effective approach. Selected microalgae and associated bacteria will be used as probiotics for two purposes: to produce quorum-quenching molecules that specifically block quorum-sensing signals associated with the activation of Vibrio; and to produce a green-water system that promotes shrimp health and growth. The technology uptake by farmers (particularly women farmers) will also be investigated. The new technology has the potential to modernize shrimp aquaculture industries around the world and reduce the need for antimicrobials.