Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Auburn, Alabama » Aquatic Animal Health Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317534

Research Project: Pathogen Characterization, Host Immune Response and Development of Strategies to Reduce Losses to Disease in Aquaculture

Location: Aquatic Animal Health Research

Title: Growth and survival of Flavobacterium columnare in fish mucus and porcine gastric mucin

item Shoemaker, Craig
item Lafrentz, Benjamin

Submitted to: Flavobacterium Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2015
Publication Date: 10/27/2015
Citation: Shoemaker, C.A., Lafrentz, B.R. 2015. Growth and survival of Flavobacterium columnare in fish mucus and porcine gastric mucin. Flavobacterium 2015. p. 35.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Flavobacterium columnare, an economically important gram negative bacterium of freshwater farmed fish, colonizes the skin and gills in the initial steps of pathogenesis. The surface of fish is coated with mucus made up of high molecular weight glycoproteins. Limited studies have described the ability of bacterial pathogens to grow in fish mucus. Our objective was to determine if F. columnare isolates could grow and survive in formulated water (FW) containing autoclaved tilapia mucus, FW containing native catfish mucus or FW supplemented with porcine gastric mucin. We demonstrated the ability of F. columnare genomovars I, II, II-B and III to replicate (2-3 logs) and survive (21 to > 100 days) in FW containing autoclaved tilapia mucus. In a second experiment, genomovar I and II isolates were found to replicate in FW containing tilapia mucus or porcine mucin but not in FW only. Recent studies demonstrated F. columnare genomovar II isolate replicated and survived in native (sterile filtered) catfish mucus. From a practical standpoint, fish handling and/or hauling results in stress that leads to mucus sloughing often with subsequent F. columnare infection. Flavobacterium columnare utilizes fish mucus as a nutrient source and studies are underway to determine if growth in mucus or mucin results in differential protein expression and/or increased virulence of F. columnare towards fish.