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Appears in Collections:Aquaculture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Taxonomy of bacterial fish pathogens
Author(s): Austin, Brian
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Keywords: taxonomy
fish pathogens
Issue Date: Feb-2011
Citation: Austin B (2011) Taxonomy of bacterial fish pathogens, Veterinary Research, 42 (1), p. article 20.
Abstract: Bacterial taxonomy has progressed from reliance on highly artificial culture-dependent techniques involving the study of phenotype [including morphological, biochemical and physiological data] to the modern applications of molecular biology, most recently 16S rRNA gene sequencing, which gives an insight into evolutionary pathways (= phylogenetics). The latter is applicable to culture-independent approaches, and has led directly to the recognition of new uncultured bacterial groups, i.e. ‘Candidatus’, which have been associated as the cause of some fish diseases, including rainbow trout summer enteritic syndrome. One immediate benefit is that 16S rRNA gene sequencing has led to increased confidence in the accuracy of names allocated to bacterial pathogens. This is in marked contrast to the previous dominance of phenotyping, and identifications, which have been subsequently challenged in the light of 16S rRNA gene sequencing. To date, there has been some fluidity over the names of bacterial fish pathogens, with some, for example Vibrio anguillarum, being divided into two separate entities (V. anguillarum and V. ordalii). Others have been combined, for example V. carchariae, V. harveyi and V. trachuri as V. harveyi. Confusion may result with some organisms recognized by more than one name; V. anguillarum was reclassified as Beneckea and Listonella, with Vibrio and Listonella persisting in the scientific literature. Notwithstanding, modern methods have permitted real progress in the understanding of the taxonomic relationships of many bacterial fish pathogens.
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Rights: Published in Veterinary Research. © 2011 BioMed Central Ltd.; © 2011 Austin; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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