Susan Knudson, Ph. D.

Susan Knudson, Ph. D.

Keeton Industries launched their Research and Development Program in the summer of 2016 when Dr. Knudson joined the staff.  The mandate of the RND program is to establish scientific knowledge to support beneficial microbe technology for improved efficacy in aquaculture.  Aquaculture systems are very complex and the understanding of the bacterial communities within the systems are minimal.  Microbial population dynamics play a huge role in the success of aquaculture.  In aquaculture, there are two competing sides; the beneficial microbes (probiotics) and the harmful microbes (pathogens).  Microbes compete with each other for space and nutrients, and for binding sites in the intestinal mucosa.   Some microbes excrete molecules that can be inhibitory, and or enzymes that aid in digestive processes.  Most notably, probiotics improve water quality by reducing organic nutrients.

           Our research program has been productive and has generated data that was presented at the World Aquaculture Meetings 2017-2019.  Topics have included debunking the pond-side probiotic grow-out myth, the development of a high through-put inhibition test for identification of potential probiotics, and a preliminary metagenomics study to compare probiotic treated vs untreated shrimp ponds. 

            Keeton probiotics are being used successfully in aquaculture.  We at Keeton are dedicated to making the best possible product.  Therefore our research goal is to identify microbes with improved efficacy at different salt conditions, at different temperatures, and against known pathogens.  To this end, we have collected microbes from around the world.  Since not all aquaculture systems have the same issues, in the future we hope to develop the capability of custom designing probiotics to our customer needs.


Keeton Industries’ President, Luke Keeton, and Senior Researcher, Susan Knudson, Ph. D., have been involved in the preparation and or presentation of a number of abstracts for local and International meetings:

  • Understanding interspecies competition with probiotics and debunking the pond side grow out myth.  Luke Keeton.  Aquaculture America, 2017.

  • Isolation of Vibrio species and potential antagonists from oyster species from different geographical regions. Susan E. Knudson, PhD., and Luke Keeton.  Aquaculture America, 2018.

  •  Metagenomic analysis of probiotic effect on shrimp microbial community. Luke Keeton.  Aquaculture America, 2018.

  •  Molecular comparisons among Vibrio parahaemolyticus clinical and environmental isolates from Vietnam and Ecuador.  Susan E. Knudson, PhD., and Luke Keeton. Aquaexpo Guayaquill 2018.

  •  Use of beneficial microbes to reduce the presence of cold water disease (Flavobacterium psychrophilum), improve water quality and reduce overall pathogens within a trout rearing facility. Jim A. Keeton and Susan E. Knudson, PhD. Aquaculture America, 2019.

  •  Molecular comparisons among vibrio belonging to the harveyi clade isolated from the environment from different geographical areas. Susan E. Knudson, PhD., and Luke Keeton.  Aquaculture America, 2019