Catfish Oral Vaccine Delivery System

Technology Overview
This technology is an oral vaccine delivery system to pellet feed to combat the Enteric septicemia diseases that affect catfish

Enteric septicemia of catfish is one of the most costly diseases for the US channel catfish industry (between $30 and $60 million annually). Traditionally, the disease was controlled with restricted feed practices and medicated feed. A vaccine is commercially available but has not gained industry acceptance due to marginal effectiveness and economic returns. To conform to industry practices, fish must be vaccinated as fry, when they are transferred from the hatchery to nursery ponds. The young age of fish at vaccination is thought to be the primary cause of limited effectiveness.

Technology Description
This technology is an oral vaccine delivery system. It applies vaccines directly to pellet feed in a continuous variable rate process. Current vaccinations available don’t have industry acceptance. To improve vaccine efficacy, a live attenuated strain of E. ictaluri was developed for oral delivery to allow for the in-pond vaccination of older fully immunocompetent fish. Oral vaccination with vaccine laden feed pellets showed that survival increased from 38% to 70%, increasing biomass production from 725 to 1638lb per acre.. A catfish oral vaccine delivery system was designed and manufactured to mix the vaccine with the feed as it was blown into the ponds. The mobile platform is self-contained and pulled behind a truck.

The way this invention works is, pellet feed is stored in a hopper bin. The hopper bin drops pellet feed into an auger conveyor. Vaccine is applied using a spray distribution line consisting of a reservoir, pump, flow control valve and spray nozzles. The flow control valve is modulated in response to pellet feed flow rate to maintain desired vaccine application rate. The conveyor drops vaccine-laden pelleted feed into a rotary airlock, which subsequently drops the vaccine-laden pelleted feed into a distribution duct. Air is supplied to the distribution duct with a blower. Vaccine-laden feed is propelled through the air and delivery rate is controlled by conveyor speed. Trajectory of vaccine-laden feed is controlled through rotation of the distribution duct with a linear actuator and blower to control airflow rate.


  • Increased survival rate of vaccinated fish
  • Self-contained, mobile device
  • Efficient and effective proven method

Administer vaccine to young fish to combat enteric septicemia disease of catfish. Can effectively increase survival rates and mitigate the huge loss due to this issue in the industry currently.

This is the first system of its kind. There is commercial value in the development of the machine system and as a service to commercial catfish growers. While the developed vaccine and in-pond oral vaccination protocol dramatically improved survival and production efficiency, a standardized method for uniform mixing and delivery of the vaccine feed admix on a larger scale needed to be developed for commercial application


Contact Information

TTO Home Page:

Name: Jeremy Clay

Title: Director

Department: Office of Technology Management