International Microbiology, Vol 5, No 1 (2002)

Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida: an integrated view of a bacterial fish pathogen

Jesús L. Romalde


Pasteurellosis, or pseudotuberculosis, is a bacterial septicaemia caused by the halophilic bacterium Photobacterium damselae subsp. piscicida (formerly Pasteurella piscicida). Although this disease was first described in wild populations of white perch and striped bass, currently the natural hosts of the pathogen are a wide variety of marine fish. The disease has great economic impact bothin Japan, where it affects mainly yellowtail cultures, and in the Mediterranean area, due to the losses it causes in seabream and seabass farms. This microorganism serves as a perfect model to study a bacterial fish pathogen, either at an applied level, to resolve or to mitigate the high economic losses of fish farmers, or at a basic level, for a better understanding of P. damselae subsp. piscicida biology. This article discusses the methods employed in our laboratory to study the causative agent of pasteurellosis. It reviews important aspects, from the diverse procedures for the detection and isolation of the pathogen to the latest molecular studies that have allowed its correct taxonomic allocation. Characterization of some virulence mechanisms and the available methods to prevent the disease are also presented.

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