DAO 34:93-101 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/dao034093

Isolation and characterization of an Enterococcus-like bacterium causing muscle necrosis and mortality in Macrobrachium rosenbergii in Taiwan

Winton Cheng, Jiann-Chu Chen*

Department of Aquaculture, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan 20224, ROC
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: A Gram-positive, ovoid, diplococoid bacterium tentatively identified as Enterococcus-like was isolated from diseased Macrobrachium rosenbergii in Taiwanese aquaculture ponds. The diseased prawns displayed poor growth, anorexia, inactivity, opaque and whitish musculature, and mortality. In histological preparations, melanized hemocytic granulomas were seen in the connective tissue around hemal sinuses together with hemocytic aggregation in necrotic musculature. Five isolates of diplococci were collected from diseased prawns at 4 farms and these were evaluated for 93 characteristics including morphology, physiology, biochemistry and sensitivity to antibiotics. The results indicated that the isolates belonged to a single species. They grew in 0.5 to 6.0% NaCl, at 10 to 40°C, at pH 9.6 and on bile esculin medium, gave positive pyrrolidonylarylamidase, arginine dehydrolase and Voges-Proskauer tests, were resistant to bacitracin and SXT, and were CAMP-negative and non-hemolytic on sheep blood agar. These findings indicated an Enterococcus-like bacterium closely related to Enterococcus seriolicida (recently reduced to synonymy with Lactococcus garvieae). Experimental injection of 3 x 105 cells of strain KM002 of this Entercoccus-like bacterium into the ventral sinus of the prawn cephalothorax caused 100% mortality in 11 d, and induced muscular necrosis and hepatopancreatitis, gross signs and histopathology similar to those observed in the naturally infected prawns. It was concluded that this Enterococcus-like bacterium was the etiological agent associated with mortality of the farmed, diseased prawns.

KEY WORDS: Macrobrachium rosenbergii · Bacterial disease · Enterococcus · Muscle necrosis

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