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Treating microbial infections in aquaculture


Cuba plans to double its aquaculture industry by 2030, but the density of farmed fish and the lack of high-quality, affordable, and effective vaccines put the country’s aquaculture farms at risk of devastating disease outbreaks. Antibiotics are used to prevent and treat bacterial diseases, but resistant strains have arisen, making treatment less effective in this vital food source. 

Research objectives

Antimicrobial peptides (chains of amino acids) offer a possible alternative. Polypeptides have shown antimicrobial properties in humans, but their efficacy in aquatic animals has not been closely explored. This project seeks to characterize and select polypeptides with immunostimulant and antimicrobial activities to protect fish and shrimp against infectious diseases.

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Expected results

The information obtained from testing and optimizing the antimicrobial treatment in Canada will be shared with Cuban scientists to apply to Cuban species, including tilapia, claria, and shrimp. This research has the potential to increase animal health and reduce the need for antimicrobials.

Lead institutions

This project is a collaboration between the University of Waterloo and the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, and the Centro de Ingenieria Genetica y Biotecnologia and Universidad de La Habana (Centro de Investigaciones Marinas) in Cuba.

•  Duration: 33 months

•  Budget: CA$2,151,900