Mycobacteria isolated from Chesapeake Bay fish
Mycobacteriosis in fish can result in ulcers, emaciation, and in some cases death. Mycobacteria have been previously isolated from a variety of Chesapeake Bay fish species, and the current study was designed to identify potential host specificity and location fidelity of mycobacterial isolates. Mycobacteria were isolated from wild fish of the Chesapeake Bay collected from the Upper Bay, the Choptank River, Herring Bay, the Chicamacomico River, the Pocomoke River and the Potomac River in 2003–2006. Mycobacterial isolates were recovered from striped bass, Morone saxatilis, Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, white perch, Morone americana, summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, spot, Leiostomus xanthurus, largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus, common carp, Cyprinus carpio carpio, spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, killifish, Fundulus sp., blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis, American gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum and American silver perch, Bairdiella chrysoura. Twenty-nine well-defined mycobacterial groups resulted from gas chromatography dendrogram clustering of isolates. The majority of groups included more than one host species and more than one site of collection. However, four groups contained only striped bass isolates, three of which were similar to M. shottsii. Therefore, multiple Chesapeake Bay fish species are colonized with multiple mycobacterial isolates, of which few appear to be host or location specific.