DAO 60:89-96 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao060089

Multiple pathogens found in growth-retarded black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon cultivated in Thailand

Kanokporn Chayaburakul1, Gary Nash2, Phusit Pratanpipat3, Siriporn Sriurairatana2, Boonsirm Withyachumnarnkul1,2,*

1Department of Anatomy, and 2Centex Shrimp Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama 6 Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
3Shrimp Culture Research Center, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company (Limited), Samut Sakhon 74000, Thailand
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: In 2001–2002 throughout Thailand, black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon farmers reported very unusual retarded growth. We have called this problem monodon slow growth syndrome (MSGS). Based on decreased national production, estimated losses due to this phenomenon were in the range of 13000 million baht (approximately US$ 300 million) in 2002. Since rearing practices had not changed, it was considered possible that the MSGS problem may have arisen from a new or existing pathogen. To examine this possibility, cultivated shrimp were sampled from 32 commercial rearing ponds that reported abnormally slow growth from eastern, central and southern regions of Thailand. Shrimp were randomly sampled from each pond and grouped into normal and small shrimp. Normal shrimp were defined as those with body weights (BW) of 24 g or more while small shrimp were defined as those that weighed 16.8 g or less. Pleopods were used for detection of monodon baculovirus (MBV), heptopancreatic parvovirus (HPV) and infectious hypodermal and hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHHNV) using specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. In addition, some shrimp were processed for normal histopathology and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Most of the shrimp specimens were infected by at least 1 of these viruses but many had dual or multiple infections. Prevalence of HPV and combined HPV/MBV infections in the small shrimp was significantly higher than in the normal shrimp. In addition to the viruses, a new microsporidian species, gregarines and bacteria were also observed but were not significantly associated with the MSGS problem. Some of the small shrimp gave negative results for all these pathogens by PCR and histology and no new and unique histopathology was recognized in any of the samples. The findings suggested that HPV infection was a contributing factor but not the overriding factor responsible for MSGS. It is possible that MSGS is caused by an unknown pathogen or by some other presently unknown, non-pathogenic factor.

KEY WORDS: Penaeus monodon · Growth retardation · MBV · HPV · IHHNV · Microsporidian · Gregarines

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