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Improving SUstainability and PERformance of aquaculture farming system: breeding for lactococcosis resistance in rainbow TROUT


SUPERTROUT (Improving SUstainability and PERformance of aquaculture farming system: breeding for lactococcosis resistance in rainbow TROUT) is a three-year project, funded in the context of PRIMA (partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) programme. The goal of SUPETROUT is to improve sustainability and profitability of small-scale farming system facing lactococcosis in rainbow trout applying an innovative strategy.

SUPERTROUT is a RIA (Research and Innovation Action) which has been approved under the call Section 2 – Multi-Topics 2019, “Farming System”.


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Project presentation English:

PRIMA - Partnership for research and innovation in the Mediterranean Area

PRIMA - Founded projects 2019




Title: Improving SUstainability and PERformance of aquaculture farming system: breeding for lactococcosis resistance in rainbow TROUT.



PRIMA (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area)



Sezione 2 – Multi-Topics 2019


Thematic area & topic

Farming System - 2.2.1 RIA small scale farming systems innovation



December 2020- November 2023 (months 36)



664.000 €



6 from 4 Countries


Aquaculture represents the winning strategy to face the depletion of fish resources due to the constant growth of world population. Small-scale farming systems are common in the Mediterranean area and trout farming is suitable for this purpose, efficiently exploiting surface and underground water resources. Italy, Turkey, Spain and Greece are at the top of the list of the main producers of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

The increase in the demand for aquaculture products brings with it the need to make production systems more efficient and sustainable: this entails a management and technological improvement, including the development of vaccines, the reproductive aspect and the genetic selection of characters related both to productive traits and to disease resistance.

SUPERTROUT has been designed to face infectious diseases, a major concern in aquaculture farming systems, using novel approaches, and improving at the same time environmental sustainability and profitability of small-scale farming system. In particular, Lactococcus garvieae is reported to be responsible for significant economic losses in aquaculture worldwide: the loss due to this infection is 10-60% of the total rainbow trout production; mortality increasing are reported when water temperature exceeds 15 °C. This is a critical issue for the Countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea where the temperate climate, associated with the global warming, in recent years, favoured the durability and diffusion of lactococcosis outbreaks.

The overall objective of this project is to improve sustainability and profitability of small-scale farming system facing lactococcosis in rainbow trout applying an innovative strategy based on:
  • exploitation of natural genetic resistance of trout through marker assisted selection;
  • development of recombinant vaccine to be administered by immersion;
  • improvement of reproductive performances exploiting trout genetic features.

Using this approach costs related to disease control will be reduced, increasing profitability, while sustainability will be enhanced reducing environmental contamination due to antibiotic treatment and reducing antibiotic resistant strains.

20% of reduction of the economic losses due to the infectious disease lactococcosis and 10% of improvement of the reproductive performances are expected. Sample title

Work packages description

SUPERTROUT will be developed over a 36 months period.

The project is organized in 5 work packages (WPs), two horizontal (WP1 and WP5) and three scientific (WP2-3-4):

WP1_Management: overall goal is to coordinate, to monitor and to structure the project development, by facilitating the cooperation within and among the WPs, thus ensuring a dynamic and efficient governance of the project.

WP2_Trout genetically resistant to lactococcosis: main objective is the selection of genetically resistant trout. This goal will be achieved  through:  evaluation of  the level of resistance of the variant 140T of MHC class II gene, challenging trout lines with different strains of L. garvieae; integration of the existing data about rainbow trout genetic resistance to lactococcosis, performing both a MHC class II based candidate gene study and a GWAS on different lines of trout belonging to natural outbreaks selected in each Partners State; evaluation of the pathogen evolution along the time in terms of molecular features, pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance.

WP3_Recombinant-protein vaccine development: main objective is the development of a recombinant-protein vaccine. This will be achieved through the detection of immunogenic protein, the vaccine production using recombinant technology and their administration by immersion in experimental trial done to evaluate vaccine efficacy. WP3 is strictly temporally related to WP2: sera to be used for immunogenic proteins detection have to be collected following outbreaks evolution; moreover, results of pathogen characterization are necessary for the choice of the strain to be used in the experimental trial for evaluation of vaccine efficacy.

WP4_Reproductive performances improvement: main objective is the improvement of the reproductive performances exploiting the cryptic female choice (CFC) phenomenon related to MHC class II. WP4 should be considered with its own development independent of the other WPs. However, WP4 and WP2 are both focused on the study of MHC class II gene even if for different purposes.

WP5_Dissemination, exploitation and communication: the main objective of the dissemination activities will be to increase the visibility of the SUPERTROUT project on selected communities and target groups at both European and extra-European level in order to maximize expected impacts. The exploitation plan will be designed to multiply the impact of resistant genetic lines and recombinant-protein vaccine proposed to control infectious diseases in small-scale farming systems and prepare the transition to the market to fully achieve the expected impact. Communication actions will overall help to raise awareness and inform stakeholders and the interested public about the project as well as to build, manage and sustain mutually fruitful relationships with key audiences.



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To subscribe write to:silvia.colussi@izsto.it


Acutis Pier Luigi: pierluigi.acutis@izsto.it
Colussi Silvia: silvia.colussi@izsto.it
Teppa Giovanni: giovanni.teppa@izsto.it
Pastorino Paolo: paolo.pastorino@izsto.it

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Amministrazione trasparente (fino al 15.12.2022)

Piano Transizione Digitale 22-24

Il Piano di Transizione Digitale 2022-2024 deliberato con Delibera del D.G. n. 0000116/B204/2023 del 28/08/2023

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