GP Elisabeth Winterthun came up with the idea after watching a TV show about the pest.
A Dr, who is also the chief medical officer of Etne, Northern Norway, has developed a new remedy to treat sea lice.
According to Dr Elisabeth Winterthun, she sat and read about receptors for the active substance capsaicin in chilli peppers while watching a TV show about sea lice. Then came the question of whether the active substance could be used to treat farmed salmon against lice.
This was reported in technology magazine Teknisk Ukeblad.
“The most exciting thing was to see if this had an effect on lice. I managed to get hold of some lice, and tested it on them. This was only on a small scale by myself, but I saw that the lice reacted quite forcefully. I wondered if this could be something,” she told the publication.
Through the company Inakva, she has been granted a patent for the method, which involves producing an orange solvent based on capsaicin. Winterthun has so far only tested the liquid directly on the sea lice, and not in farmed salmon cages. The concentrated liquid killed the sea lice after a minute and 20 seconds.
Testing is currently being done at Nofima (the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research) in Tromsø, Northern Norway, to look at how fish react to the active substance. The preliminary results should be positive, according to the journal.