Abalone Aquaculture Subprogram: identification of insulin-like peptides from abalone
Australia currently supplies over 40% of the world's wild-harvested abalone and is also becoming increasingly involved in development of the abalone aquaculture industry. As wild-harvested abalone stocks decline demand for aquacultured abalone will increase and prices will continue to rise. Most commercial abalone can grow 70-80mm in 3-4 years. Although slow, growth rates have been significantly improved by considerable efforts from researchers and industry, particularly in manufactured diets and improved tank technology. As abalone are a slow growing species with enormous commercial potential for Australia, it is crucial to develop a sensitive and reproducible method for the measurement of growth rates and to be able to study the effects of various husbandry practices and diets on abalone development. Thus any gains made in reducing grow-out time will have a significant economic impact on this developing industry. The identification and production of MIPs and other novel insulin-like proteins (ILPs) in abalone would allow studies to be performed to examine their roles in growth and development. This in turn could have major implications for the abalone aquaculture industry. The development of endocrinological assays as indicators of growth potential or response to factors such as diet could provide valuable tools for maximising the output of abalone farms in the most cost-efficient manner. This project addresses production, the highest ranked Research and Development priority for the aquaculture sector identified in the S.A. Fisheries and Aquaculture Five Year Research and Development Strategy. This area has been recognised as vital for the management of a viable abalone aquaculture industry and the study we propose has direct implications for improving growth and marketing characteristics in abalone.
1. To use molecular biology techniques to isolate insulin-related peptides (ILPs) from abalone.
2. To use these peptides to produce reagents and develop immunoassays for measuring IRP concentrations in abalone.
3. To characterize the expression of these factors at the DNA and protein levels.
4. To undertake a preliminary study examining the correlation of the ILP levels with growth.
Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Kathleen Soole