Predictive blood chemistry parameters for pansteatitis-affected Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus)

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • SDG 6
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    One of the largest river systems in South Africa, the Olifants River, has experienced significant changes in water quality due to anthropogenic activities. Since 2005, there have been various “outbreaks” of the inflammatory disease pansteatitis in several vertebrate species. Large-scale pansteatitis-related mortality events have decimated the crocodile population at Lake Loskop and decreased the population at Kruger National Park. Most pansteatitisrelated diagnoses within the region are conducted post-mortem by either gross pathology or histology. The application of a non-lethal approach to assess the prevalence and pervasiveness of pansteatitis in the Olifants River region would be of great importance for the development of a management plan for this disease. In this study, several plasma-based biomarkers accurately classified pansteatitis in Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) collected from Lake Loskop using a commercially available benchtop blood chemistry analyzer combined with data interpretation via artificial neural network analysis. According to the model, four blood chemistry parameters (calcium, sodium, total protein and albumin), in combination with total length, diagnose pansteatitis to a predictive accuracy of 92 percent. In addition, several morphometric traits (total length, age, weight) were also associated with pansteatitis. On-going research will focus on further evaluating the use of blood chemistry to classify pansteatitis across different species, trophic levels, and within different sites along the Olifants River.