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Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae, an emerging pathogen in Danish rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum), mariculture

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A selection of 16 field isolates of Photobacterium damselae from marine rainbow trout farms in Denmark was subjected to phenotypic and genotypic characterization and pathogenicity to fish. All isolates belonged to the subspecies damselae, being positive for haemolysis, motility and urease. There were considerable differences in haemolytic properties, some isolates presenting a broad zone of haemolysis and others only a narrow zone. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed a high diversity indicating that P. damselae subsp. damselae is an opportunistic, not clonal pathogen in Danish marine rainbow trout. Virulence of the strains to rainbow trout was highly variable with LD50 values ranging from 3.9 × 103 to 1.5 × 108 cfu at 20 °C. The virulence was significantly higher at 20 °C than at 13 °C. The strains with the strongest haemolytic properties were the most virulent suggesting a strong involvement of haemolysin in the pathogenesis. The pathological changes were consistent with a bacterial septicaemia and the haemorrhages were more pronounced than for most other bacterial infections.

Keywords: Denmark; Photobacterium damselae subsp. damselae; mariculture; rainbow trout; vibriosis

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations:  National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Århus N, Denmark

Publication date: May 1, 2009


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