DAO 77:137-142 (2007)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao01839

Use of ELISA to monitor bacterial kidney disease in naturally spawning chinook salmon

Glenda O’Connor1, Timothy L. Hoffnagle2,*

1La Grande Fish Health Laboratory, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 219 Badgley Hall, Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, Oregon 97850, USA
2Northeast Oregon Fish Research, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 203 Badgley Hall, Eastern Oregon University, La Grande, Oregon 97850, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Bacterial kidney disease (BKD) caused by Renibacterium salmoninarum (Rs) is a serious problem among Pacific Northwest salmon hatcheries and has raised concerns that salmon reared in hatcheries may spread BKD to natural populations. In order to monitor the potential spread of this disease to salmon spawning in nature, a method must be available to collect and analyze tissues from naturally spawning salmon. Kidney tissue analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is the standard method to detect the presence of Rs in salmon sampled in hatcheries. In this study, we tested the validity of using ELISA on kidney tissue collected from intact carcasses recovered on the spawning grounds to monitor BKD in naturally spawning populations by comparing ELISA optical density (OD) values from kidney tissue that was subjected to conditions that simulated decomposition in a carcass and collection during a spawning ground survey with samples freshly collected from salmon at a hatchery. Mean ELISA OD levels were 1.060 for the samples prepared by the normal preparation and 1.115 for samples prepared by simulating spawning ground survey collection. There was no significant difference in mean ELISA OD between the 2 sample preparations and the relationship did not significantly differ from 1:1 (slope = 0.946). This demonstrates that BKD prevalence in natural populations can be monitored using ELISA conducted on samples from intact carcasses recovered on spawning ground surveys. This will be an important tool for monitoring the effect of hatchery supplementation on naturally spawning salmon populations.


KEY WORDS: Bacterial kidney disease · BKD · Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay · ELISA · Chinook salmon · Spawning ground survey · Hatchery


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Cite this article as: O’Connor G, Hoffnagle TL (2007) Use of ELISA to monitor bacterial kidney disease in naturally spawning chinook salmon. Dis Aquat Org 77:137-142. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao01839

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