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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 37:33-41 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/dao037033

Protective effects of bacteriophage on experimental Lactococcus garvieae infection in yellowtail

T. Nakai1,*, R. Sugimoto1, K.-H. Park1, S. Matsuoka2, K. Mori3, T. Nishioka4, K. Maruyama4

1Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Higashihiroshima 739-8528, Japan
2Ehime Prefectural Fish Disease Control Center, Uwajima 798-0087, Japan
3Kamiura Station, Japan Sea-Farming Association, Kamiura, Oita 879-2602, Japan
4Goto Station of Japan Sea-Farming Association, Nagasaki 853-0510, Japan

ABSTRACT: The present study describes the in vitro and in vivo survival of Lactococcus garvieae bacteriophages and the potential of the phage for controlling experimental L. garvieae infection in yellowtail. Anti-L. garvieae phages persisted well in various physicochemical (water temperature, salinity, pH) and biological (feed, serum and alimentary tract extracts of yellowtail) conditions, except for low acidity. In the in vivo, the phage PLgY-16 was detected in the spleens of yellowtail until 24 h after intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection, or the phage was recovered from the intestine of yellowtail 3 h after the oral administration of phage-impregnated feed but undetectable 10 h later. Simultaneous administration of live L. garvieae and phage enhanced recovery of the phage from the spleen or intestine. The survival rate was much higher in yellowtail that received i.p. injection of the phage after i.p. challenge with L. garvieae, compared with that of control fish without phage injection. When fish were i.p.-injected with phage at different hours after L. garvieae challenge, higher protective effects were demonstrated in fish that received phage treatment at the earlier time. Protection was also obtained in yellowtail receiving phage-impregnated feed, in which fish were challenged by an anal intubation with L. garvieae. Anal-intubated L. garvieae were detected constantly in the spleens of the control fish, while they were detected sporadically and disappeared from the phage-treated fish 48 h later. On the other hand, orally administered phage was detected at high plaque-forming units from the intestines and spleens of the phage-treated fish until 48 h later. These results indicate that intraperitoneally or orally administered anti-L. garvieae phage prevented fish from experimental L. garvieae infection, suggesting potential use of the phage for controlling the disease.

KEY WORDS: Bacteriophage · Lactococcus garvieae · Enterococcus seriolicida · Yellowtail · Seriola quinqueradiata · Phage-therapy · Biological control

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