Trivalent Vaccine Research

Commercial catfish farming in the state of Alabama has been hit hard in recent years with significant losses due to bacterial disease outbreaks.  Auburn University and the Alabama Fish Farming Center in west Alabama have been conducting trials on a commercial farm in Hale county to investigate different methods for controlling disease outbreaks.

An experimental trial is being carried out to examine three different administration methods (injection, immersion, immersion with adjuvant) for a trivalent vaccine that targets Aeromonas hydrophila (vAh), Flavobacterium columnare, and Edwardsiella ictaluri (ESC). These three bacteria account for a $12.3 million-dollar annual loss for catfish producers in Alabama. Three experimental-scale in pond raceway systems (IPRS) on three different ponds are being used for this vaccine trial. Channel catfish that were vaccinated at Auburn University were transported to west Alabama and stocked into the IPRS units at 1000 fish per cell.  All disease outbreaks within the cells are monitored and diagnosed by the Alabama Fish Farming Center’s Diagnostics lab. The results for each vaccine administration method will be analyzed to determine which is most effective.  This project is being carried out by Jesse James, an Auburn University graduate student in Fisheries, in collaboration with Kennebec River BioSciences and the USDA ARS Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory in Auburn, Alabama. In 2018, plans are also underway to conduct a feed trial using this experimental system.