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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 64:29-35 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/dao064029

Detection of mycobacteria in aquarium fish in Slovenia by culture and molecular methods

M. Pate1, V. Jencic1, M. Zolnir-Dovc2, M. Ocepek1,*

1Veterinary Faculty Ljubljana, University of Ljubljana, Gerbi<eva 60, 1115 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, Golnik 34, 4202 Golnik, Slovenia
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Thirty-five aquarium fish were investigated for the presence of mycobacteria by culture and molecular methods. The following species were examined: goldfish Carassius auratus auratus, guppy Poecilia reticulata, 4 three-spot gourami Trichogaster trichopterus, dwarf gourami Colisa lalia, Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens, freshwater angelfish Pterophyllum scalare, African cichlid fish Cichlidae spp., cichlid fish Microgeophagus altispinosus, cichlid fish Pseudotropheus lombardoi, blue streak hap Labidochromis caeruleus, sterlet Acipenser ruthenus, southern platyfish Xiphophorus maculatus, and catfish Corydoras spp. Isolates of mycobacteria were obtained in 29 cases (82.9%). Two specimens were positive using Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining, but the cultivation failed. Four specimens were both ZN- and culture-negative. On the basis of GenoType Mycobacterium assay (Hain Lifescience) and restriction enzyme analysis of the amplified products (PCR-RFLP), 23 isolates (79.3%) were identified: 7 as Mycobacterium fortuitum, 6 as M. gordonae, 6 as M. marinum, 3 as M. chelonae, and 1 as M. peregrinum. Five isolates remained unidentified (Mycobacterium spp.). One case probably represented a mixed infection (M. marinum/M. fortuitum). Since M. marinum infections are also detected in humans, the significance of mycobacteria in aquarium fish should not be overlooked.

KEY WORDS: Mycobacteria · Aquarium fish · PCR · Restriction enzyme analysis

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