Author(s): Cantas L, Srby JR, Alestrm P, Srum H
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Abstract The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an increasingly used laboratory animal model in basic biology and biomedicine, novel drug development, and toxicology. The wide use has increased the demand for optimized husbandry protocols to ensure animal health care and welfare. The knowledge about the correlation between culturable zebrafish intestinal microbiota and health in relation to environmental factors and management procedures is very limited. A semi-quantitative level of growth of individual types of bacteria was determined and associated with sampling points. A total of 72 TAB line zebrafish from four laboratories (Labs A-D) in the Zebrafish Network Norway were used. Diagnostic was based on traditional bacterial culture methods and biochemical characterization using commercial kits, followed by 16S rDNA gene sequencing from pure subcultures. Also selected Gram-negative isolates were analyzed for antibiotic susceptibility to 8 different antibiotics. A total of 13 morphologically different bacterial species were the most prevalent: Aeromonas hydrophila, Aeromonas sobria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Photobacterium damselae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas luteola, Comamonas testosteroni, Ochrobactrum anthropi, Staphylococcus cohnii, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus capitis, and Staphylococcus warneri. Only Lab B had significantly higher levels of total bacterial growth (OR=2.03), whereas numbers from Lab C (OR=1.01) and Lab D (OR=1.12) were found to be similar to the baseline Lab A. Sexually immature individuals had a significantly higher level of harvested total bacterial growth than mature fish (OR=0.82), no statistically significant differences were found between male and female fish (OR=1.01), and the posterior intestinal segment demonstrated a higher degree of culturable bacteria than the anterior segment (OR=4.1). Multiple antibiotic (>3) resistance was observed in 17\% of the strains. We propose that a rapid conventional diagnostic bacteriological assay on the culturable microbiota profiles can be designed and used as quality measure of the husbandry routines of a zebrafish facility to ensure a bacterial standard safeguarding the zebrafish health and welfare.
This article was published in Zebrafish
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development