DAO 76:39-44 (2007)  -  doi:10.3354/dao076039

Susceptibility of zebra fish Danio rerio to infection by Flavobacterium columnare and F. johnsoniae

Thomas R. Moyer, David W. Hunnicutt*

School of Science, The Pennsylvania State University Erie, The Behrend College, 5091 Station Road, Erie, Pennsylvania 16563, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Flavobacterium columnare is a serious pathogen in a wide range of fish species. F. johnsoniae is an opportunistic pathogen of certain fish. Both are gliding bacteria. These species were tested for their ability to infect the zebra fish Danio rerio. Both injection and bath infection methods were tested. The results indicate that F. johnsoniae is not an effective pathogen in D. rerio, but that F. columnare is an effective pathogen. F. johnsoniae did not cause increased death rates following bath infection, but did cause increased death rates following injection, with an LD50 (mean lethal dose) of approximately 3 × 1010 cfu (colony-forming units). Non-motile mutants of F. johnsoniae produced a similar LD50. F. columnare caused increased death rates following both injection and bath infections. There was considerable strain variation in LD50, with the most lethal strain tested producing an LD50 of 3.2 × 106 cfu injected and 1.1 × 106 cfu ml–1 in bath experiments, including skin damage. The LD50 of F. columnare in zebra fish without skin damage was >1 × 108, indicating an important effect of skin damage.


KEY WORDS: Flavobacterium columnare · Flavobacterium johnsoniae · Zebra fish


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