Clifford Kraft (pictured), associate professor at Cornell University, will present “Thiamine Deficiency and Reproductive Failure in Great Lakes Fishes: New Insights Regarding an Unsolved Mystery” as part of the Great Lakes Center Seminar Series on Thursday, December 6, at 12:15 p.m. in Classroom Building B118.
The large-scale mortality of salmonine fishes from thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency presents an unsolved mystery in aquatic ecosystem management. Recent studies demonstrate that this thiamine deficiency results from the consumption of clupeid prey containing thiaminase, an enzyme that degrades available thiamine, yet conditions that influence fish thiaminase levels remain poorly characterized.
This presentation will highlight a microbial perspective to advance an understanding of this important problem in fisheries and aquatic ecosystem management. Recent discoveries in molecular biology and structural chemistry support the hypothesis that bacteria living within aquatic organisms regulate the production of thiaminase, which subsequently leads to thiamine deficiency in fish and consumers of fish.
Several aspects of fish anatomy, physiology, and internal gastrointestinal tract conditions could facilitate thiaminase production and point to microbial sources as responsible for the observed distribution of thiaminase in fish and other organisms. Progress cannot be made in solving this substantial problem in fisheries management without conducting controlled experiments that successfully manipulate conditions that regulate the production or accumulation of thiaminase in aquatic organisms. Preliminary results from these types of experiments will be presented.
Students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.