DAO 120:217-224 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03027

Virulence of Flavobacterium columnare genomovars in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss

Jason P. Evenhuis1,*, Benjamin R. LaFrentz2

1USDA-ARS, National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture, 11861 Leetown Rd., Kearneysville, WV 25430, USA
2USDA-ARS, Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, 990 Wire Rd., Auburn, AL 36832-4352, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Flavobacterium columnare is the causative agent of columnaris disease and is responsible for significant economic losses in aquaculture. F. columnare is a Gram-negative bacterium, and 5 genetic types or genomovars have been described based on restriction fragment length polymorphism of the 16S rRNA gene. Previous research has suggested that genomovar II isolates are more virulent than genomovar I isolates to multiple species of fish, including rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. In addition, improved genotyping methods have shown that some isolates previously classified as genomovar I, and used in challenge experiments, were in fact genomovar III. Our objective was to confirm previous results with respect to genomovar II virulence, and to determine the susceptibility of rainbow trout to other genomovars. The virulence of 8 genomovar I, 4 genomovar II, 3 genomovar II-B, and 5 genomovar III isolates originating from various sources was determined through 3 independent challenges in rainbow trout using an immersion challenge model. Mean cumulative percent mortality (CPM) of ~49% for genomovar I isolates, ~1% for genomovar II, ~5% for the II-B isolates, and ~7% for the III isolates was observed. The inability of genomovar II isolates to produce mortalities in rainbow trout was unanticipated based on previous studies, but may be due to a number of factors including rainbow trout source and water chemistry. The source of fish and/or the presence of sub-optimal environment may influence the susceptibility of rainbow trout to different F. columnare genomovars.


KEY WORDS: Flavobacterium columnare · Rainbow trout · Genomovar · Virulence · Immersion challenge


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Cite this article as: Evenhuis JP, LaFrentz BR (2016) Virulence of Flavobacterium columnare genomovars in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss. Dis Aquat Org 120:217-224. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao03027

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