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Sea Grant Research Projects Receive Nearly $600,000 In GOIP Grants

Four Louisiana Sea Grant College Program research projects have been awarded $591,073 in Gulf Oyster Industry Program (GOIP) grants.

LSU AgCenter Assistant Professor Jerome La Peyre was awarded $192,126 for a project titled “Increasing the Survival and Shelf Life of Gulf Coast Oysters by Controlling Their Exposure to Air: Potential Role of Stress Proteins.” La Peyre will study the effect of air exposure on oyster survival during the growing period and on oyster shelf life after harvest. Increasing the survival rate of air-exposed oysters would have advantages in growing market-sized oysters in shallow waters. Increasing live oyster shelf life in late summer, when the shelf life is shortest, would have positive distribution and marketing implications.

La Peyre also was awarded $151,329 for a project titled “Effects of Freshwater Diversions: An Experimental Determination of the Effects of Freshets on the Oyster Parasite Perkinsus marinus and Its Host, Crassostrea virginica.” A freshet is a stream of fresh water that empties into a body of salt water. Decreasing sea water salinity is known to delay development of the P. marinus infection. The goal of the project is to determine how various controlled exposures to fresh water impact the intensity of P. marinus infection in oysters.

LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Research Center Professor Terrence Tiersch was awarded $153,080 for a project titled “Process Control Technology for Spawning of Triploid Females to Produce Tetraploid Oysters.” Typically, plants and animals have two sets of chromosomes (diploid). Triploid refers to a genetic condition in which there are three sets of chromosomes, and tetraploid organisms have four sets of chromosomes. Triploid oysters are more marketable because they grow faster, bigger and meatier than diploid oysters, but triploids are less fertile and typically are spawned through artifcial means. Tetraploid oysters, which are not marketed for consumption, naturally spawn triploids which make them excellent triploid broodstock. The project’s goal is to develop a new system to enhance triploid fertility in order to provide eggs for tetraploid production in the Gulf of Mexico region. Co-investigators on the project include Steven Hall, LSU AgCenter assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering, and John Supan, Louisiana Sea Grant research professor.

Marlene Janes, LSU AgCenter assistant professor of food sciences, was awarded $94, 538 for a project titled “Detection of Vibrio vulnificus by Direct Colony Immunoblot.” Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium in the same family as those that cause cholera. It can infect oysters and can cause disease in people who eat contaminated seafood. The project’s goal is to develop a simple, inexpensive and rapid method for V. vulnificus detection in raw oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico.

GOIP was created in 1999 by the Gulf Oyster Council, a cross-section of Gulf oyster industry leaders, state resource managers and academic researchers. The goal of GIOP is to encourage multi-disciplinary research and extension projects that contribute directly to the efficiency and profitability of oyster-related businesses and to the safety of oyster products.

Since its establishment in 1968, Louisiana Sea Grant has worked to promote stewardship of the state’s coastal resources through a combination of research, education and outreach programs critical to the cultural, economic and environmental health of Louisiana’s coastal zone. Louisiana Sea Grant, based at Louisiana State University, is part of the National Sea Grant Program, a network of 30 programs in each of the U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands.