In the international seafood trade, shrimps are very important commodities all over the world. The Philippines is gifted with aquatic potential with numerous coastal areas for the cultivation of shrimps.

However, cultivation is affected by the spread of shrimp pathogens, an infectious agent then can cause disease to its host.

Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma announced that a project that aims to detect and prevent the spread of pathogens is now nearing completion at the recent National Biotechnology Week Science and Technology Forum on Aquatic Biotechnology.

Dr. Saloma is the director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in UP-Diliman.

A Biosensor kit called PhilGenStrips for the detection of disease in shrimps was developed through the collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Philippine Genome Center, UP and Ateneo de Manila University.

PhilGenStrips is affordable, easy to use in the field, and has the ability to correctly indentify those with disease as well as those without.

It can detect White Spot Syndrome (WSS) Virus. WSS is a viral infection which is contagious and can quickly lead to death.

The biosensor kit comes with a mobile application that is ready for laid computing. This application will serve as an online database of pathogen test strip result for the user. It can also monitor stocking cycles water quality, and other parameters.

Dr. Saloma said that to develop the detection kit, they used both nanotechnology and the traditional polymerace chain reaction, a scientific technique in molecular biology that is used to investigate and diagnose the growth of disease.

“With a click of a button, you know where are the sites of active infections as well as the historical record of some of the old sites”, said Saloma, referring to the mobile application.

“We have not yet uploaded this online and is still a data version. Next year we hope to have this available to the public”, she added. (PSciJourn MegaManila).