A thicker chorion gives ova of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) the upper hand against Saprolegnia infections

MM Songe, A Willems, M N Sarowar, K Rajan, O. Evensen, Keith Drynan, I Skaar, P Van West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Since the ban of malachite green in the fish farming industry, finding alternative ways of controlling Saprolegnia infections has become of utmost importance. Much effort has been made to elucidate the mechanisms by which Saprolegnia invade fish eggs. Little is known about the defence mechanisms of the hosts, making some eggs more prone to infection than others. One clue might lie in the composition of the eggs. As the immune system in the embryos is not developed yet, the difference in infection levels could be explained by factors influenced by the mother herself, by either transferring passive immunity, influencing the physical aspects of the eggs or both. One of the physical aspects
that could be influenced by the female is the chorion, the extracellular coat surrounding the fish egg, which is in fact the first major barrier to be overcome by Saprolegnia spp. Our results suggest that a thicker chorion in eggs from Atlantic salmon
gives a better protection against Saprolegnia spp. In addition to the identification of differences in sensitivity of eggs in a fish farm set-up, we were able to confirm these results in a laboratory-controlled challenge experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-888
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Fish Diseases
Issue number7
Early online date8 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Our work is supported by the University of Aberdeen, BBSRC (BB/G012075/1 and BB/ J018333/1) and NERC (PvW); a Marie Curie Initial Training Network called SAPRO (Sustainable approaches to reduce Oomycete (Saprolegnia) infections in aquaculture, grant PITN-GA-2009- 238550) (MMS, AW, IS, PvW); and a Commonwealth Scholarship Commission BDCS-2010-42 (MNS).


  • chorion
  • infection
  • oomycete
  • ova
  • salmon
  • saprolegnia
  • saprolegniosis


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