DAO 41:159-171 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao041159

Grouping by plasmid profiles of atypical Aeromonas salmonicida isolated from fish, with special reference to salmonid fish

Henning Sørum1, Gudmund Holstad2,*, Tor Lunder2, Tore Håstein2

1Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Post Box 8146 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway
2National Veterinary Institute, Post Box 8156 Dep., 0033 Oslo, Norway
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Plasmid profile analyses were performed for 113 strains of atypical Aeromonas salmonicida and the reference strain A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida ATCC 14174. The atypical A. salmonicida strains comprised 98 strains obtained from fish originating from 54 farms and 2 lakes in Norway, 10 strains from Canada (2), Denmark (2), Finland (1), Iceland (1) and Sweden (4), the reference strains NCMB 1109 and ATCC 15711 (Haemophilus piscium) of A. salmonicida subsp. achromogenes, and the type cultures A. salmonicida subsp. achromogenes NCMB 1110, A. salmonicida subsp. masoucida ATCC 27013 and A. salmonicida subsp. smithia CCM 4103. A total of 95 strains of atypical A. salmonicida were separated into 7 groups (I to VII) based on the plasmid profiles. Eighteen strains of atypical A. salmonicida had no common plasmid profile. The type strain NCMB 1110 and the reference strain NCMB 1109 were included in group IV, and the type strain ATCC 27013 in group V, but the other reference and type strains had plasmid profiles different from all the other strains. An epidemiological link was documented between strains collected from different farms/localities in each of groups I, III, V and VII. Physiological and biochemical characterizations were performed for 93 of the strains to investigate phenotypic differences between the plasmid groups. Group VII strains and 3 strains with no common plasmid profile differed from the other groups in being catalase-negative. Differences in phenotypic characteristics were shown between the plasmid groups. However, significant variations in reactions for several phenotypic characteristics also occurred within each of the groups I to VII. The present study indicates that plasmid profiling may give useful epidemiological information during outbreaks of atypical A. salmonicida infections in fish. Additional comprehensive phenotypic characterisation is of limited value since the phenotypic characteristics in each plasmid group are not uniform.

KEY WORDS: Atypical Aeromonas salmonicida · Fish · Plasmid profiles

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