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Polychaetes, Maturation and Methyl Farnesoate

A Discussion from The Shrimp List


Fernando R. Figueroa (fdofigueroa@yahoo.com):


Dear group,


I am looking for some data on polychaetes and shrimp maturation.


Fernando R. Figueroa, Aquaculture Engineer, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.


GAL-VAB Ltd. (services@greenaqua.com):


Dear Fernando,


Try Eric Pinon, ServiceAqua LLC, 2970 West 84th Street, Bay 1, Miami, Florida 33018 USA (phone 772-696-4637, email epinon@serviceaqua.com).


Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com):


Dear Fernando,


Go to this site for a PDF/abstract of a PhD thesis manuscript (ISBN 947-04-6720-2) by Dr. Pisit Poltana (ppoltana@hotmail.com) at Mahidol University, in Thailand, titled Morphological development of the polychaete, Perinereis nuntia and the effects of its hormonal extracts on ovarian maturation in Penaeus monodon that do not undergo eyestalk ablation.


Listed below are some additional papers on polychaete hormones, steroids, neuropeptides, fatty acids and vitamin precursors that might be relevant to your interest in the influences of polychaetes on penaeid broodstock maturation.  [*Editor: I have footnoted Gerundo’s list of papers at the bottom of this page.]


Hartantyo (hartantyo_dvm@yahoo.com):


Dear Fernando,


I believe we could provide what you need.  Formerly, we were a global distributor of Seabait marine polychaete worms.


Having a secure environment to raise broodstock is no longer enough to ensure complete biosecurity!  You also have to ensure that the feed given to shrimp are specific pathogen free (SPF)!


We have top-branded polychaetes stocks on hand at competitive prices out of the United Kingdom and Asia.  Please email seabait@zagro.com or drop by our website http://www.aquasquare.com/seabait.jsp.


B. Sakthi Mohan Ganesh (saklynmon@yahoo.com):


Dear Fernando,


Here is some information regarding polychaete worms that may be helpful:


Polychaete worms contain methyl farnesoate, which is an ecdysone hormone that increases fecundity and hatch rate in Penaeus vannamei shrimp and P. monodon and enhanced ovarian development in other crustaceans.




Hall, M.R., Mastro, R., and Prestowich, G.  1999.  Abstract: Hormonal modulation of spawner quality in Penaeus monodon.  Book of Abstracts (page 308).  World Aquaculture 99.  World Aquaculture Society Meeting (Australia, 1999).


Laufer, H., Paddon, J., and Paddon, M.  1997.  A hormonal enhancing larva production in the Pacific white shrimp, Penaeus vannamei.  IV Symposium on Aquaculture in Central America: focusing on shrimp and tilapia.  Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Asociación Nacional de Acuicultores de Honduras and the Latin American Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society.  Page 161-162.


Laufer, H., Biggers, W.J., and Ahl, J.S.B.  1998.  Stimulation of ovarian maturation in the crayfish Procambarus clarkia by methyl farnesoate.  General and Comparative Endocrinology  111.113-118.


Eric Pinon (list@serviceaqua.com):


Dear Mr. Hartantyo,


I understand that you are no longer a Seabait distributor.  What kind of polychaete are you offering?


Seabait fell into bankruptcy at the end of May 2008.  I have a written communication from the investors who acquired Seabait that says Seabait made its last shipment to Zagro in February 2007.  Are you still marketing that inventory?


Hartantyo (hartantyo_dvm@yahoo.com):


Zagro offers various types of polychaetes: dry, live and frozen.  We have wild-caught polychaetes and fresh, farmed polychaetes from Seabait.  Regarding Seabait, although it went into bankruptcy in July 2008, it is still producing worms.  As Seabait’s global distributor, we are selling worms in the USA, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil.


Information: Hartantyo, Zagro Singapore, Pte., Ltd., Zagro Global Hub, Woodlands Terrace, Singapore 738430 (phone +656759-1811, fax +656759-1855, email zsingapore@zagro.com, webpage http://www.zagro.com).


Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com):


You might also want to download and review a similar but more recent article (2006) on the same subject by Dan Fegan entitled: Feeds for the Future: The Importance of Better Broodstock and Larval Nutrition in Successful Aquaculture.


Nelson Gerundo (nelsongerundo@yahoo.com):


Dear Fernando,


There is a need to put aquaculture science in the right perspective with reference to the belief that polychaetes (bloodworms) contain methyl farnesoate.


Bloodworms do not contain methyl farnesoate.  Although MF does increase fecundity and hatch rate in Penaeus vannamei, it has never been found or extracted from bloodworms or polychaetes.


It is the polychaete fatty acid profile (eicosanoids and arachidonic) and other intrinsic polychaete hormones (like progesterone) that cause maturation induction in penaeids, as Laufer and Bigger (2001) have stated: “Thus, the same compounds responsible for sexual maturation and metamorphosis in annelids are used by crustaceans as critical nutritional factors for their sexual maturation and reproduction.”


Methyl farnesoate has been reported by Laufer in 30 species of crustaceans (shrimps, crabs, lobsters crayfish, barnacles) but it has not been found in bloodworms.


Laufer has found methyl farnesoate in adult Artemia (a non-decapod crustacean), but not in bloodworms (Laufer and Bigger 2001).  Yes, adult Artemia biomass contains methyl farnesoate.


Laufer has invented and patented a technique of using purified methyl farnesoate and chemical derivatives to increase shrimp larval production.


The statement: “Laufer found that bloodworms contained methyl farnesoate which is an ecdysone hormone that increased fecundity and hatch rate in P. vannamei” as quoted by Wouters, et al. (2001) and Fegan (2006) is an unintentional misinterpretation of Laufer’s work on methyl farnesoate.  Laufer has never reported finding methyl farnesoate in bloodworms or polychaetes in any of his scientific publications.  The misquotation on methyl farnesoate in bloodworms is, however, an honest mistake and unintentional.  We should respect Dr. Roeland Wouters and Dan Fegan for their valuable contributions to the science of penaeid nutrition.


Hans Laufer (laufer@uconn.edu):


Dear Dr. Gerundo:


Concerning your questions:


Nelson Gerundo: “May I ask your authority to verify if methyl farnesoate (MF) has been identified or isolated from polychaetes?  As far as I have learned from your works, MF is to crustaceans as Juvenoid Hormone (JH III) is to insects and PUFA (eicosanoids and arachidonic acid) is to annelids.”


Hans Laufer: You are correct, MF has not been identified in polychaetes.


Nelson Gerundo: “Wouters, et al. (2001) in their paper entitled: Penaeid shrimp broodstock nutrition: an updated review on research and development.  Aquaculture 2001 volume 202 (1):1-2…mentioned that methyl farnesoate has been found in bloodworms citing your papers (Laufer, et al. 1998 and 1997) on page 12 (the last paragraph of the paper) quoted here: ‘The role of hormonally active substance has been suggested for Artemia biomass in reproductive stage (Nessens, et a 1997) and bloodworm (Laufer, et al. 1998).  Laufer found that bloodworms contained methyl farnesoate, which is an ecdysone hormone that increased fecundity and hatch rate in cultured P. vannamei (Laufer, et al. 1997) and P. monodon (Hall, et al. 1999).’”


Hans Laufer: This statement is a misquote.  MF has not been found in bloodworms, nor is it an ecdysone hormone.  MF does, however, increase fecundity and hatch rates in P. vannamei.


Nelson Gerundo: “Your manuscript…did not mention methyl farnesoate as a valid annelid or polychaete hormone, but rather tended to designate MF as a crustacean hormone.”


Hans Laufer: MF is indeed a crustacean hormone, rather than an annelid or polychaete hormone.


Nelson Gerundo: “…Inform us whether methyl farnesoate is...present in polychaetes or annelids?”


Hans Laufer: MF has not been found in annelids and polychaetes.


Information: Hans Laufer, Research Professor, Director, Laboratory of Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, University of Connecticut, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, Connecticut 06268 USA (phone 860-486-4117, fax 860-486-4331, email laufer@uconn.edu).


Roeland Wouters (r.wouters@inve.be):


Thank you Nelson for the rectification,


My confusion probably originated from a study that showed that ether extract of bloodworms possessed juvenile-hormone activity in insect bioassays.  I read now that it has been demonstrated with chemical analyses that this activity was due to the presence of high PUFA levels and that methyl farnesoate was not present.  My sincere apologies to Dr. Laufer and to all of you for the mistake and the misquote.


Source: The Shrimp List (a mailing list for shrimp farmers).  Subjects: Shrimps and Polychaetes, and Methyl Farnesoate.  November 5–24, 2008.


* Gerundo’s list of papers:


1. Oraporn Meunpol (oraporn@biotec.or.th), Saowaluck Iam-Pai, Wanvipa Suthikrai and Somkiat Piyatiratitivorakul.  2007.  Identification of progesterone and 17a-hydroxyprogesterone in polychaetes (Perinereis spp) and the effects of hormone extracts on penaeid oocyte development in vitro.  Aquaculture 270 (1-4) 485-492.


2. Judy Jost, Hilary Cain and Joan R. Marsden.  1981.  A micro-thin layer chromatographic analysis of the amines and free-amino acids in the central nervous system of the polychaete, Nereis virens.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part C: Comparative Pharmacology 68 (1) 43-47.


3. David L. Forest and Sarah M. Lindsay.  2008.  Observation of the serotonin and FMRF amide-like immuno reactivity in palp sensory structures and the anterior nervous system of spionid polychaetes.  Journal of Morphology 269 (5) 544-551.


4. Ali A. Vaca and Jorge Alfaro.  2000.  Ovarian maturation and spawning in the white shrimp, Penaeus vannamei, by serotonin injection.  Aquaculture 182 (3-4) 373-385.


5. Kanokpan Wongprasert, Somluk Asuvapongpatana, Pisit Poltana, Montip Tiensuwan and Boonsirm Withyachumnarnkul.  2006.  Serotonin stimulates ovarian maturation and spawning in the black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon.  Aquaculture 261 (4) 1447-1454.


6. Poltana, P., Lerkitkul, T., Anantasomboon, G., Wannapapho, W., Olive and Wityachumnamkul, P.J.W.  2005.  Prostaglandins in the polychaete, Perinereis nuntia, and their receptors in the ovary of the black tiger shrimp, Penaeus monodon.  In: Crustacean Culture: World Aquaculture Conference (May 2005, Indonesia).


7. Zeeck, E., Hardege, J., and Bartels-Hardege, H.  1990.  Sex pheromones and reproductive isolation in two nereid species, Nereis succinea and Platynereis dumerilli.  Marine Progress Series 67:183-188.


8. Barker, G.C., Chitwood, D.J., and Rees, H.H.  1990.  Ecdysteroids in helminths and annelids.  Invertebrate Reproduction Development 18: 1-11.


9. Zeeck, E., Hardege, J., Bartels-Hardege, H., Willig, A., and Wesselman, G.  1991.  Sex pheromones in marine polychaete: Biologically active compounds from female Platenereis dumerilli.  Journal of Experimental Zoology 260:93-98.


10. Watson, G.J., and Bently, M.G.  1997.  Coelomic maturation factor controlling oocyte maturation in polychaete, Arenicola marine (L.).  Invertebrate Reproduction Development 31:297-305.


11. Oraporn Meunpol, Panadda Meejing and Somkiat Piyatiratitivorakul.  2005.  Maturation diet based on fatty acid content for male Penaeus monodon (Fabricius) broodstock.  Aquaculture Research 36 (12) 1216-1225.


12. Pacey, A.A., and Bently, M.G.  1992.  The fatty acid 8, 11, 14-eicosatrienoic acid induces spawning in the marine lugworm, Arenicola marina.  Journal of Experimental Biology 173: 165-179.


13. Marco Agustin Linan-Cabello (linanmarco@hotmail.com) and Jesus Paniaqua-Michel.  2005.  Induction factors derived from carotenoids and vitamin A during the ovarian maturation of Litopenaeus vannamei.  Aquaculture International 12 (6).


14. G.J. Coman (greg.coman@csiro.au), S.J. Arnold, T.R. Callaghan and N.P. Preston.  2007.  Effects of two maturation diet combinations on reproductive performance of domesticated Penaeus monodon.  Aquaculture 263 (1-4) 75-83.


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