Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Could Boost Coastal Economics with Crustacean Molting on Demand

29.10.2009
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers are close to unraveling intricate cellular pathways that control molting in blue crabs. The discoveries could revolutionize the soft-shell crab industry, generating new jobs and additional profits for the U.S. fishing industry along the coastal Southeast.

Soft-shelled blue crabs are a delicacy enjoyed by food lovers each spring and early summer when the crustaceans naturally molt their hard outer shell in the wild. Molting is the process by which the crab discards its exoskeleton, replacing it with a temporarily soft, pliable new exoskeleton that is easy to eat.

Despite being limited by the crab’s annual molting patterns, the blue crab fishing industry is valued at nearly $50 million a year in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. The ability to manipulate molting, or facilitate molting on demand, could make the blue crab available to consumers year-round, potentially boosting the industry’s overall economic impact.

UAB biologist and researcher Doug Watson, Ph.D., and his research team believe they have identified the blue crab molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH) receptor, a key protein in the cellular pathway that controls molting. They are testing a compound designed to block the MIH receptor in the hopes of inducing molting.

“No one yet has isolated or characterized this MIH receptor for any crustacean, but we think we have isolated a gene that codes for that receptor,” Watson says. “We’re not 100 percent sure yet, but the gene we have cloned has all the characteristics of the MIH receptor. We’re trying to determine for sure if it is.”

Conceivably, then the growth of the animals could be controlled, and this could create jobs and stimulate local economies through private aquaculture or farming operations across every state touching the ocean – from Texas to Maryland, Watson says.

“Induced molting probably would have to take place in an aquaculture setting because it would be difficult to control in the wild,” Watson says. “Once the blue crabs molt in the wild they are very vulnerable to predators because their shell is so soft.”

The identification and characterization of the MIH receptor also would constitute a significant contribution to the field of invertebrate endocrinology.

“That’s the basic science and a key to answering the question of how growth and development are regulated in this group of organisms with so much ecological and economical importance,” Watson says.

Watson says they will either need to develop an injection or food pellet that could be used to induce the molting process.

Watson’s research is being conducted through a two-year grant funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and a pilot grant from the Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering at UAB. His research team includes colleagues Teruaki Nakatsuji, Junying Zheng and current UAB graduate students Hsiang-Yin Chen and Anna Pendleton.

About the UAB Department of Biology

The UAB Department of Biology is a dynamic academic partnership that provides a broad-based graduate and undergraduate curriculum. Most members of the graduate faculty have research specialties in comparative biochemistry, physiology and eco-physiology of aquatic organisms. A second, important department research focus is environmental microbiology.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on all consecutive references.

Andrew Hayenga | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uab.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung

nachricht Demographic change depresses tax revenues
04.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>