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Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus is not the cause of thiamine deficiency impeding lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) recruitment in the Great Lakes

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Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency is a global concern affecting wildlife, livestock, and humans. In Great Lakes salmonines, thiamine deficiency causes embryo mortality and is an impediment to restoration of native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) stocks. Thiamine deficiency in fish may result from a diet of prey with high levels of thiaminase I. The discoveries that the bacterial species Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus produces thiaminase I, is found in viscera of thiaminase-containing prey fish, and causes mortality when fed to lake trout in the laboratory provided circumstantial evidence implicating P. thiaminolyticus. This study quantified the contribution of P. thiaminolyticus to the total thiaminase I activity in multiple trophic levels of Great Lakes food webs. Unexpectedly, no relationship between thiaminase activity and either the amount of P. thiaminolyticus thiaminase I protein or the abundance of P. thiaminolyticus cells was found. These results demonstrate that P. thiaminolyticus is not the primary source of thiaminase activity affecting Great Lakes salmonines and calls into question the long-standing assumption that P. thiaminolyticus is the source of thiaminase in other wild and domestic animals.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Nash Hall, Room 104, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. 2: Five Rivers Services, LLC, under contract to the US Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, USA. 3: US Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, USA. 4: US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, 1451 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA. 5: Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 2100 Commonwealth Boulevard, Suite 100, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.

Publication date: June 30, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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