Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar L., 1758) Gut Microbiota Profile Correlates with Flesh Pigmentation: Cause or Effect?
In Tasmania (Australia), during the marine phase, it has been observed that flesh pigmentation significantly drops in summer, possibly due to high water temperatures (> 20 °C). Although this deleterious effect of summer temperatures has been ascertained, there is a lack of knowledge of the actual mechanisms behind the impaired uptake and/or loss of pigments in Atlantic salmon in a challenging environment. Since the microbial community in the fish intestine significantly changes in relation to the variations of water temperature, this study was conducted to assess how the gut microbiota profile also correlates with the flesh color during temperature fluctuation. We sampled 68 fish at three time points covering the end of summer to winter at a marine farm in Tasmania, Australia. Flesh color was examined in two ways: the average color throughout and the evenness of the color between different areas of the fillet. Using 16S rRNA sequencing of the v3–v4 region, we determined that water temperature corresponded to changes in the gut microbiome both with alpha diversity (Kruskal-Wallis tests P = 0.05) and beta diversity indices (PERMANOVA P = 0.001). Also, there was a significant correlation between the microbiota and the color of the fillet (PERMANOVA P = 0.016). There was a high abundance of Pseudoalteromonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Microbacteriaceae, and Vibrionaceae in the pale individuals. Conversely, carotenoid-synthesizing bacteria families (Bacillaceae, Mycoplasmataceae, Pseudomonas, Phyllobacteriaceae, and Comamonadaceae) were found in higher abundance in individuals with darker flesh color.
KeywordsAtlantic salmon Microbiota Flesh color Pigmentation Carotenoids
Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes
Linear Discriminant Analysis
linear discriminant analysis effect size
Operational Taxonomic Unit
Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States
Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology
The authors would like to acknowledge Petuna Aquaculture, Stuart Atherton, Tom Fox-Smith, and Ryan Wilkinson for their contribution to this project.
Conceived and designed the experiments: CDHN, GA, TV, and AE. Collected samples: GA. Performed the experiments: CDHN. Analyzed the data: CDHN and JM. Wrote the paper: CDHN. All authors contributed to the paper drafts and accepted the manuscript.
The research was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation FRDC (project code: FRDC 2014-248) through a collaboration between Petuna Aquaculture and the University of the Sunshine Coast. CDHN was supported by an International postgraduate award from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures were carried out with the approval of the University of the Sunshine Coast Animal Ethics Committee (AN/E/16/12).
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