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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 36:169-176 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao036169

Reproducible methods for experimental infection with Flavobacterium psychrophilum in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss

Lone Madsen*, Inger Dalsgaard

Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Fish Disease Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Stigbøjlen 4, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

ABSTRACT: Experiments were done in order to achieve a reproducible method that can be used to infect rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss with Flavobacterium psychrophilum, the causal agent of coldwater disease and rainbow trout fry syndrome. The main method investigated was intraperitoneal injection, and this method was tested using isolates with different elastin-degrading profiles and representing different serotypes. Injecting trout, average weight 1 g, with 104 CFU (colony-forming units) per fish caused cumulative mortalities around 60 to 70%. The virulent strains belonged to certain serotypes and degraded elastin. The intraperitoneal injection challenge method could be used on larger fish, but the infection dose was 107 CFU per fish before mortalities occurred. Bath infection and bath infection in combination with formalin treatment (stress) seemed to be reproducible methods that could be used as alternatives to the intraperitoneal method, although the mortalities among infected trout were lower. The results of investigated methods were influenced by parameters such as the challenge isolate, number of fish in the tank affecting the infection pressure, origin of fish and weight of fish.

KEY WORDS: Flavobacterium psychrophilum · Experimental infection · Intraperitoneal challenge · Bath challenge · Stress + bath challenge · Cohabitation challenge · Rainbow trout

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