Home Agriculture White spot syndrome –cause of shrimp industry degeneration, finally cured

White spot syndrome –cause of shrimp industry degeneration, finally cured


Shrimp is one of the favorite dishes usually served in Filipino feasts. Shrimp industry is one of the highest grossing industry when it comes to fishery due to its high demand around the world. However, nowadays, shrimp supply is degenerating compared in the last decades.
In the recent study of Mary Beth B. Maningas, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Lab in Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, there are three kinds of disease found in shrimp which cause death in a span of two weeks up to one month.
Based on her study, it is found out that the shrimp supply degeneration started in 2002 but the outbreak happened in 1993 in China.
Shrimp Aquaculture Industry Potential
Mary Beth ManingasDr. Maningas said that China, Thailand, and Vietnam are the ‘Top Shrimp Producers’ worldwide including the Philippines in 1990 ranked as 3rd highest shrimp producer reached 90,000 metric tons.
Shrimp industry produces an estimate profit of 25-B in the Philippines, 1.6-T in Asia, and 1.8-T worldwide.
Pathogens of the Shrimp Aquaculture Industry
The supply degeneration in the shrimp industry is due to the diseases found in them categorized as ‘virus’ and ‘bacteria’.
As explained by Dr. Maningas in Tuklasin Natin, the virus cannot thrive and survive without its ‘host’. Virus is non-curable. In fact, when the shrimp is positive of virus in span of 2 to 10 days, the shrimp could die once it was infected of virus.
While the bacteria is ‘curable’ through the administration of antibiotic. However, constant use of the same antibiotic may eventually cause the shrimp to become resistant. In the span of one week to one month, the shrimp could die once it has bacteria.
In Dr. Maningas’ presentation conducted in PCCAARRD, viruses found in shrimp are White Spot Syndrome, Taura Syndrome, Infectious Hypodermal and Haematopoietic Necrosis, and Laem-Singh virus. While bacteria found in shrimp are the Vibrio Harveyi and Vibrio Parahaemolyticus.
These diseases were first found and confirmed in China in 2009, Vietnam in 2010, Malaysia in 2011, Thailand in 2012, Mexico in 2014, and in the Philippines it was proven that have already existed.
Currently, the Research and Development Team of Dr. Maningas found out that in Bataan Site 1 (73%), Bataan Site 2 (27%), Bulacan (31%), Cebu (25%), Bohol (20%), Sarangani (7%), and General Santors (3%) are the provinces in the Philippines where the Shrimp White Spot Syndrome virus is found.
White Spot Syndrome in shrimp has caused the shrimp industry 365,000 metric tons per cropping profit losses.
Shrimp Disease Management and Prevention
Maningas Mary Beth
Dr. Maningas stressed that the only solution of these diseases is close observation and monitoring by the shrimp harvesters and the government. Conduction of disease management and prevention should be done. Unfortunately, nowadays it would be impossible to follow through an intensive shrimp testing as these test are costly because government-operated and accredited diagnostic centers are only few.
The accuracy of the AHPND results is highly related to the mortality of live shrimp to be tested in AHPND Diagnostics Centers and these centers are usually miles away from shrimp harvesters.
Philippine Shrimp Industry Needs

In the research and studies done by Dr. Maningas and her team in relation to the Shrimp Industry in the country, it is recommended that the Philippines need the quick, affordable, easy-to-use, and produces accurate results of shrimp testing (AHPND testing).
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic tools were developed in Japan, Thailand, and Taiwan. Before, the intervention of Dr. Maningas’ project, the testing kit usually came from Taiwan and Thailand.
It was in 2011 when diagnostic tools were developed for the White Spot Syndrome virus and in 2014, diagnostic tools for the bacteria.
Result of the Research and Development Study of Shrimp White Spot Syndrome
Through the project “Pathology and Development of Molecular Detection Kit for EMS/AHPND causing bacteria” funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), the Engineering faculty of University of Sto. Tomas together with the Research and Development team of Dr. Beth Maningas, managed to create the Juan Amplification and the JAmp Detection Kit.
Jamp Alert
The Juan (One) Amplification has the ability to detect whether a shrimp has AHPND. This is a prototype diagnostic kit and heat block using loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP). This enables the heat to go up to 90o which stays in 5 minutes and then eventually cools down to 65o.  
This technology is easy to prepare, easy-to-use, and affordable for Php300 per testing and can produce results in just one hour.
LAMP is 10 times more sensitive compare to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) commonly used in Diagnostic Centers. It also has the capability to detect the AHPND-causing bacteria.
The Juan Amplification and the JAmp Detection Kit costs Php50,000 and can test up-to 50 reactions.
Shrimp harvesters is required to bring 5 to 10 pieces of shrimp samples per hectares for testing in Diagnostic Centers.
Government Intervention
According to the economist and former Department of Education Undersecretary Antonio Valdes, it is vital for the Philippine government to have an efficient agricultural program. An efficient and effective policies and programs in Agro-industrial may dictate whether the country has the ability to feed its growing population without the need for money remittances from OFW and food importation.
Just like the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology, which uses science and technologies to address existing and future problems.  PCAARRD contributes to provide solutions in the agriculture sector, they are dedicated to make technologies available to the citizens.

In fact, funding research and development studies and/or projects of different scientists, researchers, professor is part of PCAARRD’s many endeavors. Among them are Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Professor, Forest Resource Management of Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños, who published his study called “GIS-based Inventory and Sustainability Assessment of Rubber and Cacao in Major Production Areas of the Philippines”; Dr. Carlos C. Baylon, DOST-PCAARRD Mussel R & D Program Leader and Professor, University of the Philippines-Visayas in the project “Longline Culture of Mussels”; Dr. Mary Beth B. Maningas, Project Leader, PCAARRD-DOST Pathobiology and Molecular Detection of Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease Causing Bacteria in the Philippines, Department of Biological Science, University of Sto. Tomas for the Detection Kit for Early Maturity Syndrome in Shrimps. The continued support of PCAARRD ensures the increase of production of farmers and fishermen in the country.
While sometimes, in the process of their research and studies, researchers and scientists found out many loop holes when they are already in the field. As they find policies, practices and implementation in agricultural sector and industries that is needed to change, tweak, or must be corrected. (Cathy Cruz)
Cathy at PCAARRD2


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