Infectious microbial diseases and host defense responses in Sydney rock oysters

Aquaculture has long been seen as a sustainable solution to some of the world's growing food shortages. However, experience over the past 50 years indicates that infectious diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and eukaryotes limit the productivity of aquaculture. In extreme cases, these types of infectious agents threaten the viability of entire aquaculture industries. This article describes the threats from infectious diseases in aquaculture and then focuses on one example (QX disease in Sydney rock oysters) as a case study. QX appears to be typical of many emerging diseases in aquaculture, particularly because environmental factors seem to play a crucial role in disease outbreaks. Evidence is presented that modulation of a generic subcellular stress response pathway in oysters is responsible for both resistance and susceptibility to infectious microbes. Understanding and being able to manipulate this pathway may be the key to sustainable aquaculture.

Citation: Raftos DA, Kuchel R, Aladaileh S and Butt D (2014) Infectious microbial diseases and host defense responses in Sydney rock oysters. Front. Microbiol. 5:135. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00135

EU study finds honey bee death rates are lower than feared - Chicago Tribune

BRUSSELS — A pioneering European Union survey into the impact of pests and diseases on honey bees found death rates were lower than feared, in part countering concerns about the collapse of colonies of the crop-pollinating insects.

The study of 32,000 bee colonies across 17 EU member states from late 2012 until summer 2013 found winter mortality rates ranged from 3.5 percent to 33.6 percent.

The winter of 2012-13 was particularly cold and the highest mortality rates were in northern countries with harsher climates.

During the beekeeping season, when the insects are active, mortality rates were between 0.3 percent and 13.6 percent.

"It's the first major study of pests and diseases that affect honey bees. A lot of it seems very encouraging," said Tom Breeze, a specialist in bees at the University of Reading in Britain said.

Breeze was not involved in the study, which was made public by the European Commission on Monday.

By comparison, U.S. beekeepers lost nearly a third of their colonies last winter as part of a largely unexplained decline in the population that could affect food supplies.

The study found that overall prevalence of the bee diseases American foulbrood was low in all the monitored EU member states, ranging from zero to 11.6 percent.

European foulbrood was even lower. Only five member states observed positive cases and the clinical prevalence exceeded 2 percent in only one member state.

Varroosis, a disease caused by a mite, was however observed in nearly all the monitored member states.

The survey was financed by the 17 out of 28 EU member states which took part and by the European Commission, which contributed $4.5 million. It said the study would be followed up with further research.

Environmental campaigning group Greenpeace welcomed the study as far as it went, while saying that it left out analysis of the impact of pesticides and changes to biodiversity.

"This is the first year in which some sort of monitoring has started. Finally it's a first step in the right direction," Greenpeace's EU agriculture policy director Marco Contiero said.

Last week, the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that almost a quarter of Europe's bumblebee population is at risk of extinction because of loss of habitats and climate change.

The Commission, the EU executive, also said current indicators showed wild bees, closely related to the honey bees and also vital pollinators, were in "a worrying decline".

It has banned the use of certain pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, suspected of harming bees. They are produced mainly by Germany's Bayer and Switzerland's Syngenta.

In addition, EU policy-makers are trying to address bee health by insisting on measures such as crop diversification as part of reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy.

China: 30-40% of imported fruits in the market are actually fake

With the standard of living improving in China, more and more residents prefer to buy imported fruits. And of course buyers looks at the labels on the fruit to check if the fruits are imported. The question is how do you know that the fruit is actually imported and not local?

In China, there has been news that now even imported fruits are being pirated. Local fruits are being sold as imported fruits, just by sticking an imported fruit label, so that they can be sold at a higher price.

Here are some examples. Apples are slapped with the "Japanese Red Fuji" label when the apples are actually domestically grown Fuji apples. Grapes labeled with "USA Red Grapes when the grape plantation is actually in Beijing and Qinhuangdao. Kiwifruits with the "New Zealand Kiwifruit" label, when the kiwi is actually from Zhejiang.

Manitoba's first glyphosate-resistant weed confirmed

Manitoba has its first official glyphosate-resistant weed, and as expected, it is kochia.

But out of 283 fields surveyed last fall, only two were found with glyphosate-resistant kochia. Both are in the Red River Valley.

“I was surprised about where it was found,” Bruce Brolley, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development’s (MAFRD) crops knowledge centre manager said in an interview Monday.

Agronomists had predicted the first cases would be discovered in Western Manitoba because glyphosate-resistant kochia was confirmed in Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2012. But officials suspect this seeds of this infestation came from North Dakota.

However, Brolley said the small presence is good news.

MAFRD is not revealing the exact location of the glyphosate-resistant kochia. Staff will closely monitor the fields and work with the affected farmers and those nearby to contain its spread.

“This is a shot across the bow,” said Gary Martens, an agronomy instructor at the University of Manitoba. “I am afraid there’s so much noise out there farmers won’t pay attention to this. But they need to because there is more (herbicide resistance) to come.”

India to expand irrigation to cut reliance on monsoon

Plans are on to expand India's farmland under irrigation by at least a tenth in the next three years, potentially boosting grains output by an equal proportion in the world's second-biggest rice and wheat producer. 

The extra irrigated area would cut the dependence on annual monsoon rains that water crops grown on nearly half of the country's farmlands. Rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean are the main monsoon crops.

Crop yields on irrigated farms are usually 2-2.5 times those in rain-fed areas. Better yields would boost exports after India shipped large quantities of rice and wheat in recent years.

"We have around 97 million hectares under irrigation and it's slated to go up by 10% by 2017. Eventually, the potential is to take this forward by almost half to 149 million hectares," A B Pandya, chairman of the state-run Central Water Commission, said in an interview on Monday.

Higher output and productivity will also raise rural income, stoking demand for an array for consumer goods ranging from lipsticks to refrigerators.

Abstract | Phylogenetic analysis of newly isolated grass carp reovirus

Grass carp reovirus (GCRV) is a causative agent of haemorrhagic disease in grass carp that drastically affects grass carp aquaculture. Here we report a novel GCRV isolate isolated from sick grass carp that induces obvious cytopathic effect in CIK cells and name it as GCRV096. A large number of GCRV 096 viral particles were found in the infected CIK cells by electron microscope. The shape, size and the arrangement of this virus were similar to those of grass carp reovirus. With the primers designed according to GCRV 873 genome sequences, specific bands were amplified from sick grass carp and the infected CIK cells. The homology rates among vp4, vp6 and vp7 gene in GCRV 096 and those of some GCRV isolates were over 89%. In this study, the sequences of vp4, vp6 and vp7 were used to analyse sequence variation, phylogenetic relationships and genotypes in twenty five GCRV isolates. The results indicated these twenty five GCRV isolates should be attributed to four genotypes. And there were no obvious characteristics in the geographical distribution of GCRV genotype.

Spain demands stricter phytosanitary controls on imports

FEPEX asked the Spanish MEPs to support amendments 76-85 in the European Parliament, so that a so-called reverse strategy, that allows for stricter phytosanitary controls on imports, could be adopted. This would entail adopting similar policies to those enforced by the countries most involved in the production and marketing of fruit and vegetables, like the United States and Brazil.

The current phytosanitary control system is based on a "negative list"; i.e., a list of the plants that have been prohibited or that must be subject to inspections at the time of import. Vegetables that are not listed are imported without any controls. However, in recent years, several previously unknown pests have reached Europe, which shows that the current legislation is not sufficiently effective.

Thousands more Norwegian farm salmon escape in latest incident -

More than 47,000 farm-raised salmon have escaped their cages in northern Norway, the fifth such escape in two months. Environmentalists are warning that the country’s growing aquaculture industry could destroy native wild salmon stocks.

According to an article in the Norway edition of The Local, this latest incident occurred in the Alfjorden, north of Stavanger, at a farm owned by Alsaker Fjordbruk, a leading aquaculture firm, with several farms spread out along the Norwegian coast. Farm-raised fish are Norway’s second-largest export.

The incident has drawn the ire of the Green Warriors of Norway, a major environmental group opposed to aquaculture.

According to their website, the Green Warriors oppose aquaculture because of “contaminants in the farm fish, over-exploitation of wild fish to produce fish food, organized animal abuse, sea lice that kill wild Atlantic Salmon strains, and the vast organic pollution of the beautiful Norwegian fjords.”


GM salmon moves closer to sale in Canada

Norwegian fish farm offers €60 reward for escaped salmon

World's farmed fish production now topping beef production

Scallop catch reduced - Marlborough Express

The total allowable catch for scallops in the top of the South Island is to be 520 tonnes, down from 827 tonnes.

The total allowable commercial catch has been dropped from 747 tonnes to 400 tonnes, with 40 tonnes each to customary, recreational and "other sources of fishing-related mortality."

Mr Guy said he was aware the fishery was at a low level, with the commercial catch coming from only the Marlborough Sounds.

"I consider that a reduced commercial catch limit of 400 tonnes takes into account the future enhancement potential of the fishery, while balancing the sustainability risk and utilisation opportunity. This is the first step in stimulating a rebuild of abundance in the fishery."

Mr Guy said some submissions supported a larger reduction, one of the options included in the ministry discussion paper, but he did not consider that was required.


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