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Fighting EMS Shrimp Disease In Mexico -- Cargill Workshop To Draw Together Academic Researchers And Industry

CIUDAD OBREGON, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cargill's animal nutrition business, a global feed and nutrition company, is hosting a two-day workshop, Nov. 12-13, in Ciudad Obregon to explore strategies to help customers deal with a new bacterial disease causing mass mortalities at cultivated shrimp farms in northwestern Mexico.

The disease, known as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) or Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND), has caused large-scale die-offs of farm-raised shrimp in several countries in Asia. In August, the disease was also confirmed at shrimp farms in the states of Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit in Mexico. Shrimp producers' associations in those states now project a 65 percent drop in tons of shrimp produced this year compared to 2011 due to the outbreak.

"We hope that a partnership between researchers, industry and government can help develop some holistic solutions to this destructive disease," says John Peppel, senior vice president, Cargill Animal Nutrition, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. "Cargill Animal Nutrition has more than 25 years of experience in aquaculture nutrition and management solutions.  We're committed to using that global knowledge and experience to help shrimp producers in Mexico respond to this threat."

During the "Program for EMS/AHPND Workshop in Sonora," renowned shrimp disease pathologist, Prof. Donald Lightner, University of Arizona (UA), U.S., is scheduled to describe the base diagnosis of the disease. Although EMS has been decimating shrimp farms in Asia since 2009, it was not until this May that Lightner and a team of UA researchers first identified the causative agent behind the disease: a strain of bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The breakthrough finding is considered a crucial first step in finding effective ways to combat EMS.

Also at the workshop, health committee representatives from shrimp producers' associations will describe the epidemiology of the disease including how the problem moved from one area to another and mortality rates. Researchers from domestic universities will present their latest findings on how to identify the bacteria using molecular tools. Cargill Animal Nutrition will enable discussions on key challenges in addressing EMS including quality larvae (healthy young animals), farm best management practices, environment, nutrition and aquatic health.

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