Therapeutic and Prophylactic Measures of Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND) in Shrimp

Case ID:

Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND) also known as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) is one of the most devastating diseases for shrimp farming in the last decade. Since its discovery in 2009, AHPND caused $2.56 billion dollars worth of losses in Vietnam, $11.6 billion in Thailand, and significant losses worldwide as the disease increases its geographic reach.

This technology is part of the solution to the AHPND problem plaguing the shrimp market. The idea is giving the the shrimp an ability to defend against the disease by using a feed that includes a protein additive. This protein attaches to the toxin produced by bacteria causing AHPND, thus functionally blocking the toxins from affecting the shrimp.

Demand for shrimp the world over has increased in recent years for a number of reasons. These include but are not limited to:

  • An increase in the middle class income in developing countries
  • An increase in seafood consumption
  • The continuing ease with which products are shipped around the world 

Because demand for shrimp has increased, the need for industrial shrimp farming has also increased to meet that demand. However, just like any other farming practice, the close proximity and intensive farming with high stocking density exacerbates disease problems that otherwise may not be found in nature. Those diseases are the number one challenge in the shrimp industry and account for billions of dollars worth of losses every year.

Each pathogen requires three things: (1) a host; (2) an optimum environment (temperature, proximity etc.); and (3) pathogen present in the water or other organism. Usually, farmers try to disconnect the third prong from the other two. One of the best ways is to give the shrimp some kind of protection from specific pathogens or diseases. One major way to accomplish this is to provide shrimp, from the beginning, feed and feed additives that prevent the pathogen from finding a suitable host in the farm. This research produced the end product designed to provide that defense to shrimp from AHPND.


  • Shrimp farms in North and South America and APAC where the disease has been found
  • Any shrimp farm, versatile feed


  • Ease of use
  • Defense mechanism
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tod McCauley
Assistant Director of Licensing, CALS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Nam Hung Mai
Arun Dhar