Research Projects in Aquaculture at the Center of Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Office
of Research, Laurel, MD, USA
Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important source of fish available
for human consumption. As the number of aquaculture facilities grows, so does the need to
develop safe and effective drugs for treating fish diseases. In response to this, the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Office of Research (OR) has
greatly expanded its commitment to aquaculture research.
Research at the facility will focus on both regulatory priorities and the
needs of the aquaculture community. Species that will be studied initially include tilapia
(Oreochromis sp.), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Atlantic salmon (Salmo
salar), channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), large mouth bass (Micropterus
salmoides), toadfish (Opsanus tau), and goldfish (Carassius auratus). All of
these species, except goldfish, are currently raised or maintained for food purposes. Goldfish
will serve as a model for ornamental fish and as a disease model.
Research objectives are designed to provide data to assist the Food and Drug
Administration in assuring that fish derived from the aquaculture production environment are
safe for human consumption. Priorities include studying the biodistribution, residue
persistence, metabolism, efficacy, and environmental effects of drugs and other chemicals used
in aquaculture. There will be a large effort to develop a rationale for crop grouping (grouping
species for drug approvals based on similarities in anatomy, physiology, and drug metabolism).
Other studies are designed to investigate the effect of drugs on the environment, non-target
species, and the pathogens associated with aquatic species. Of increasing importance are studies
designed to understand the development and transmission of antimicrobial resistance in both
pathogens and environmental microbes.
CVM'S OR is collaborating with scientists conducting aquaculture-related
research at the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, Fort Detrick, and the Maryland
Department of Natural Resources. We are developing a research internship program at CVM for
fourth-year veterinary students interested in aquaculture to expand veterinary involvement in
fish medicine and research.