DAO 33:111-118 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/dao033111

Vibrio splendidus biovar II as the causative agent of bacillary necrosis of Japanese oyster Crassostrea gigas larvae

G. Sugumar1,2, T. Nakai2,*, Y. Hirata3, D. Matsubara3, K. Muroga2

1Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Tuticorin 628 008, India
2Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima 739-8528, Japan
3Hiroshima Prefectural Farming Fisheries Association, Takehara 729-2313, Japan
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

Recurrent outbreaks of a disease leading to mass mortalities in an oyster (Crassostrea gigas) hatchery located in western Japan were investigated. The disease occurred regularly in 2- to 8-d-old larvae and has been experimentally controlled in the hatchery by treating the larval rearing water with streptomycin, without ascertaining the etiological agent. The signs of the disease and the course of infection resembled bacillary necrosis reported in oysters and other bivalve molluscs in the USA and Europe. Quantitative and qualitative examinations of the bacterial flora of hatchery samples including source water, broodstock, larval feed and larvae revealed a very high total bacterial load and presumptive vibrios in diseased larvae. Further, the bacterial profile revealed that Vibrio spp. constituted approximately 60 to 95% of the bacteria isolated from infected larvae and most isolates were identified as V. splendidus biovar II and V. harveyi, suggesting their possible role in the disease. However, experimental challenges proved the pathogenicity of V. splendidus II. Several isolates of V. splendidus II from infected larvae were highly pathogenic, producing 100% mortality at levels of 105 cfu ml-1 in 24 h, while isolates from other sources demonstrated a low degree of virulence. Detection of V. splendidus II from broodstock, especially in the gonad of a few breeders, suggests the probability that broodstock could be the source and route of transmission of this pathogen.


Bacillary necrosis · Vibriosis · Crassostrea gigas · Larvae · Vibrio splendidus II · Pathogenicity


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