30 July 2017

Kukule Kankanamge, 2017

Kukule Kankanamge M. 2017. Analysis of chitinase activity. Master’s thesis, Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=bgsu1498843764486231


The oomycete Aphanomyces astaci infects crayfish, which can result in the mass mortality commonly referred to as “crayfish plague.” Additional oomycetes in the genera Aphanomyces and Saprolegnia also infect crayfish. In the present study, two distinct organisms were isolated and identified from infected marbled crayfish Procambarus fallax forma virginalis and two phylogenetic trees based on internal transcribed spacer I (ITSI) were constructed using MEGA 7 software and maximum likelihood method with 1000 bootstraps. It is known that crayfish pathogens that infect crayfish produce chitinases that enable them to penetrate the cuticle of the crayfish. Preliminary testing for chitinase activity of Aphanomyces sp. indicated that in vitro growth in terms of surface area of the plates covered by mycelia and dry weight of mycelia increased with increasing chitin concentration from 1%-3% and leveled off at 4% chitin. The effects of chitin on timing of sporangia formation and zoospore release of Apahanomyces sp. suggested that chitin plays a role in asexual reproduction of the pathogen. The time taken for Aphanomyces sp. to develop sporangia and zoospore release increased with the amount of chitin incorporated in the media. Based on these observations, isolates of Aphanomyces sp. and of Saprolegnia sp. were tested for their chitinase activity. Both isolates could utilize chitin as carbon and nitrogen source in their growth. Additional experiments suggested that the chitinase activity of Aphanomyces sp. and Saprolegnia sp. involved an unidentified acidic substance produced by both organisms. Dinitrosalicylic acid assay (DNS assay) indicated the presence of unidentified secondary metabolites and/or pigment produced by Saprolegnia sp. and Aphanomyces sp.in nutrient deprived media. In DNS assay, the media with chitin and water in which both pathogens were grown showed highest absorbance after 72 hours indicating the possibility of their maximum production of chitinase and other enzymes within 48-72 hours. Based on the average absorbance readings, Aphanomyces sp. could be producing significantly higher amount of enzymes that break down chitinous cuticle compared to Saprolegnia sp. Overall, the observations made in this study could indicate chitinase production in Aphanomyces sp. and Saprolegnia sp.

Keywords: crayfish pathogen • Aphanomyces astaciSaprolegnia sp. • chitinase • dinitro salicylic acid assay

06 July 2017

Vodovsky and colleagues, 2017

Vodovsky N, Patoka J, Kouba A. 2017. Ecosystem of Caspian Sea threatened by pet-traded non-indigenous crayfish. Biological Invasions 19(7): 2207–2217. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1433-1


Freshwater ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to biological invasions; the aquatic animal pet trade has been recognized as a significant pathway of introductions. Crayfish are considered a model group of traded organisms with a series of highly successful species already established in the wild, having the potential to negatively influence both indigenous crayfish species (ICS) as well as alter occupied ecosystems. Eastern Europe includes the entire native ranges of indigenous Astacus leptodactylus sensu lato and A. pachypus. This region has been largely overlooked and considered relatively safe from the adverse impacts of non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS). In this study, we evaluated the crayfish pet trade in the Lower Volga Region with special emphasis on Astrakhan, the biggest city of Russian Federation in the region located just in the delta of Volga River, thus being a potential gateway of introductions to the Caspian Sea and adjacent freshwaters. The local pet trade involves 12 NICS. Considering their origin, availability, probability of establishment, invasiveness and further aspects, Procambarus fallax f. virginalis, P. clarkii and Cherax destructor are considered potentially the most problematic, including transmission of diseases like crayfish plague caused by Aphanomyces astaci or white spot syndrome virus. Taking this information as a whole, the availability of NICS with a high probability of overlapping the entire range of European ICS means that attention is warranted. Further research is needed to corroborate the abilities of NICS and their associated diseases to withstand specific conditions of the Caspian Sea as well as the adjacent Black and Azov Seas, all possessing different degrees of elevated salinity.

Keywords: aquarium • invasiveness • ornamental animal • Pet trade • Russian Federation • salinity

Uderbayev and colleagues, 2017

Uderbayev T, Patoka J, Beisembayev R, Petrtý M, Bláha M, Kouba A. 2017. Risk assessment of pet-traded decapod crustaceans in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the leading country in Central Asia. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 418: 30. https://doi.org/10.1051/kmae/2017018


The pet trade with decapod crustaceans has been considered one of the main pathway of introduction of these animals worldwide. As the leading markets in this regards are the Czech Republic, Germany and the USA. Central Asia is not perceived as an important market with ornamental decapod crustaceans. Despite this assumption, we found at least 16 species of freshwater shrimp, crayfish and crab species pet-traded in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the largest country in this region. Considering computed risk assessment, the origin of particular species, their availability on the market, the probability of establishment and further aspects, we identified two crayfish Procambarus clarkii and Procambarus fallax f. virginalis being the seriously hazardous taxa with high potential to threaten native crayfish species as well as inhabited ecosystems. To prevent their introductions and to minimize the risks of mentioned species, similarly as in the case of European Union, we recommend the total ban of import, trade and keeping of these high-risk taxa within Central Asia.

Keywords: Biological invasion • climate matching • introduction pathway • Procambarus clarkiiProcambarus fallax f. virginalis