Lab for lice

Nofima and Tromsø Aquaculture Research Station have developed a new department for salmon lice research
April 28, 2011

Lab for lice

Nofima and Tromsø Aquaculture Research Station have developed a new department for salmon lice research. This is an important contribution in the effort to combat the problems with salmon lice in the aquaculture industry.

The department is located in a separate hall containing tanks where the scientists have full control of all relevant environment factors such as water, temperature, salt content, oxygen and feed.

All water is cleaned before it is pumped out again to avoid salmon lice being transferred to the surroundings.

“We have established this department to meet the industry’s requirement for research that can contribute to getting rid of the lice problem,” says Nofima Senior Advisor Heidi Mikalsen. “We have had a large influx of enquiries from commercial actors wanting to study and document how efficient treatments for salmon lice are.”

At the new department it is possible to carry out experiments on salmon infected with lice as well as experiments directly on the lice.

“A challenge model against salmon lice is a standardised method in which fish are challenged under controlled conditions,” says Mikalsen.

“We have based this on experiences from the challenge models we have developed for diseases such as IPN, ILA and winter sores. This enables the industry and scientists to among other things test out different medications and feed types in totally controlled conditions in order to see how well they work.”

Own lice strain
In order to have full control over the experiments, the department is using its own lice strain which it has previously acquired from the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen.

“These lice are well suited for controlled challenge experiments as they have not previously been in contact with any test products. We know their complete background,” says Mikalsen.

Potential clients include pharmaceutical companies, vaccine manufacturers and feed manufacturers in Norway and abroad.

Nofima also carries out experiments with salmon lice at the Averøy Research Station in Møre og Romsdal.