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Identification of a hatching enzyme in salmon lice.

Identification of a potential hatching enzyme involved in the hatching process of Lepeophtheirus salmonis

Therapeutic pesticides are the primary treatments used for delousing farmed salmon. The number of these agents is limited and the potential risk for developing resistance in lice is therefore high, and has already been stated. Another drawback concerning these pesticides is the lack of specificity and the risk of affecting non-target organisms and their habitats.

Taking these issues in perspective there is an urgent need for an alternative solution to manage control over the infestation of salmon lice.

During the hatching process in most animal species, a type of proteases known as hatching enzymes (HE) play a crucial role in digesting the protective extracellular coat that surrounds the embryo, allowing it to hatch.

These HEs have not yet been identified in salmon lice, but in other closely related species e.g. hair lice from phylum arthropoda, and shrimps from subphylum crustaceans.

The aim of this project is to identify the presence of HEs in the hatching process of salmon lice eggs, with the intension to create a potential target for pharmacological manipulation, to prevent the hatching in a selective and specific manner to avoid negative impact to the environment.


Gunnvør Norðberg, M.Sc.