Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Isolation and characterization of Flavobacterium columnare strains infecting fishes inhabiting the Laurentian Great Lakes basin.

Abstract

Flavobacterium columnare, the aetiological agent of columnaris disease, causes significant losses in fish worldwide. In this study, the prevalence of F. columnare infection was assessed in representative Great Lakes fish species. Over 2000 wild, feral and hatchery-propagated salmonids, percids, centrarchids, esocids and cyprinids were examined for systemic F. columnare infections. Logistic regression analyses showed that the prevalence of F. columnare infection varied temporally and by the sex of the fish, whereby females had significantly higher prevalence of infection. A total of 305 isolates of F. columnare were recovered. Amplification of the near complete 16S rRNA gene from 34 representative isolates and subsequent restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses demonstrated that all belonged to F. columnare genomovar I. Phylogenetic analysis of near complete 16S rRNA gene sequences also placed the isolates in genomovar I, but revealed some intragenomovar heterogeneity. Together, these results suggest that F. columnare genomovar I is widespread in the Great Lakes Basin, where its presence may lead to mortality.