DAO 60:149-155 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/dao060149

Studies on the virulence of Aerococcus viridans (var.) homari, the causative agent of gaffkemia, a fatal disease of homarid lobsters

James E. Stewart, John W. Cornick, B. M. Zwicker, B. Arie

Science Branch, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, PO Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada

ABSTRACT: Virulent and avirulent strains of Aerococcus viridans (var.) homari were used to extend previous studies to determine and confirm differences between the 2 types. Virulent strains possessed polysaccharide capsules and were not agglutinated by lobster hemolymph serum; avirulent strains did not have capsules, were agglutinated by the lobster hemolymph serum, and most did not grow well in lobster hemolymph serum. Growth of the avirulent strains in sterile lobster hemolymph serum induced the production of capsules (which reached a maximum after 5 to 7 d incubation), eliminated susceptibility of the strains to the lobster serum agglutinin, and restored their virulence against lobsters. The factor(s) in lobster hemolymph serum inducing the long-lasting phenotypic response of virulence was (were) heat labile.

KEY WORDS: Lobster · Homarus americanus · Virulence · Aerococcus viridans (var.) homari · Capsules · Agglutinin

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