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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 144:61-73 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03572

Concentration and detection of salmonid alphavirus in seawater during a post-smolt salmon (Salmo salar) cohabitant challenge

Lisa-Victoria Bernhardt1,*, Mette Myrmel2, Atle Lillehaug1, Lars Qviller1, Simon Chioma Weli1

1Norwegian Veterinary Institute, PO Box 750 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo, Norway
2Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Virology Unit, PO Box 8146 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Currently, the prevalence of salmonid alphavirus (SAV) in Norwegian Atlantic salmon farms is largely surveyed via sacrificing fish and sampling of organ tissue on a monthly basis. However, a more cost-efficient, straightforward, rapid, reliable, reproducible and animal welfare friendly method based on the detection of SAV in water could be considered as an alternative method. In the present study, such a method was developed and optimized through a 6 wk cohabitant challenge trial, using post-smolt Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L challenged with high or low doses of SAV subtype 3 (SAV3). Tank water and tissue samples from cohabitant fish were collected at 16 time points. SAV3 was concentrated from the water by filtration, using either electronegative or electropositive membrane filters, which were subsequently rinsed with one of 4 different buffer solutions. SAV3 was detected first in tank water (7 d post-challenge, DPC), and later in cohabitant fish organ tissue samples (12 DPC). The electronegative filter (MF-Millipore™) and rinsing with NucliSENS® easyMAG® Lysis Buffer presented the best SAV3 recovery. A significant positive correlation was found between SAV3 in the tank water concentrates and the mid-kidney samples. Based on these results, detection of SAV3 in filtrated seawater is believed to have the potential to serve as an alternative method for surveillance of SAV in Atlantic salmon farms.


KEY WORDS: SAV detection · SAV concentration · Water filtration · Surveillance · RT-qPCR · Membrane filters · Salmonid alphavirus · Pancreas disease


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Cite this article as: Bernhardt LV, Myrmel M, Lillehaug A, Qviller L, Chioma Weli S (2021) Concentration and detection of salmonid alphavirus in seawater during a post-smolt salmon (Salmo salar) cohabitant challenge. Dis Aquat Org 144:61-73. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03572

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