Back to Library

Aphanomyces invadans in Atlantic Menhaden along the East Coast of the United States

Published by:
Publication date
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
North America
Focus Topic:
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Fisheries & Aquaculture
Blazer, V.S.; Chinabut, S.; Densmore, C.; Kiryu, Y.; Lilley, J.H.; Panyawachira, V.; Schill, W.B.

The cause of deeply penetrating ulcers of Atlantic menhaden Brevoortia tyrannus has been the subject of significant research efforts in recent years. These lesions and the associated syndrome termed ulcerative mycosis have been observed along the East Coast of the United States since at least the early 1980s. Although Aphanomyces spp. were isolated from these lesions in the mid to late 1980s, similar lesions could not be reproduced by experimental infections of Atlantic menhaden with these isolates. The identical characteristic histologic appearance of granulomatous inflammation surrounding the penetrating fungal hyphae occurs in fish with epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS), as reported throughout South Asia, Japan, and Australia. Aphanomyces invadans has been found to be the causative agent of EUS in all of these countries. Using methods developed for the study of EUS, we successfully isolated an organism for which the DNA sequence, morphology, temperature and salinity growth characteristics, and infectivity of chevron snakehead Channa striata are identical to A. invadans. Using the polymerase chain reaction assay for A. invadans, we were able to demonstrate the presence of the organism from Atlantic menhaden lesions collected in U.S. estuarine waters from Delaware to South Carolina. In addition, the organism was present in lesions on a bluegill Lepomis macrochirus from a farm pond in Georgia and channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus from a farm pond in Louisiana.