Use of antimycin-microparticles and alfalfa to control Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella

Science Center Objects

Since their introduction in the 1960’s, grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) have spread across the North American continent as far north as the U.S./Canadian border in the Great Lakes. Grass carp are an herbivorous species and can significantly reduce the amount of macrophytes and other plant material in a body of water. Subsequently, this can lead to many detrimental effects for certain species of native plants and animals, such as an increase in water turbidity, in free ammonia and phosphorous which leads to algal blooms, and a loss of habitat for other organisms. It has also been shown that grass carp can introduce non-native parasites and diseases, such as the Asian tapeworm (Bothriocephalus opsarichthydis). Because of these effects, grass carp directly and indirectly impact waterfowl and other fishes. It is imperative that grass carp species be controlled in a way that preserves native flora/fauna. 

Currently, the only way of chemically controlling fish populations is with a broad spectrum piscicide, which is undesirable because of the effects on non-target species. The use of a carrier may significantly increase the specificity of the piscicide to grass carp. For example, a microparticle made of wax will be used to deliver the control chemical, which will most likely be antimycin-A, a registered piscicide. Grass carp will most likely not directly feed upon a microparticle, so we are proposing to utilize a pellet or diet that is based upon alfalfa to hold the microparticle and mask its taste. This study will follow a similar structure to Rach et al. (1994) and to AEH-16-CCT-01, except we will be using alfalfa meal as a base for bait formulation. We will also be using a beeswax microparticle to contain the antimycin-A, which will minimize the leaching of antimycin-A into the water and increase species specificity simultaneously. If sufficient antimycin-A is not available for use, yttrium will be used as an inert marker to determine if fish consumed the microparticle. Yttrium has been used before in the microparticle and is detectable in fish intestines as demonstrated in AEH-17-CARP-01.


  1. Determine toxicity range of antimycin-A microparticle laden bait to grass carp in tanks;
  2. Demonstrate toxicity of antimycin-A microparticle laden bait to grass carp in tanks;
  3. Determination of species specificity of bait;
  4. Determine the leach rate of antimycin-A from the bait, and also determine if the leach rate is sufficient to cause mortality;
  5. Demonstrate toxicity of antimycin-A microparticle laden bait to grass carp in a small pond.  
UMESC Scientist Jon Amberg analyzes fish tissue

UMESC Scientist Jon Amberg analyzes fish tissue(Credit: Randy Hines, UMESC. Public domain.)



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