Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen

, Volume 37, Issue 1–4, pp 329–342 | Cite as

Isolation and characterization of a new subspecies ofMycobacterium chelonei infectious for salmonid fish

  • C. K. Arakawa
  • J. L. Fryer


Rapidly growing, nonchromogenic mycobacteria were isolated from salmonid fish at five locations in the states of Oregon and Montana, USA. The isolates were characterized by biochemical, physiological, genetic and mycolic acid properties, then subjected to taxonomic analysis. Detection of mycobacterial mycolic acids and a percent guanine plus cytosine value of 63 ± 1.7 mol% confirmed that the isolates belong to the genusMycobacterium. The internal similarity of the isolates was 94.2 ± 3.4 %. None of the isolates grew at 37 °C. A comparison of their properties with those of other rapidly growing, nonchromogenic and photochromogenic mycobacteria was made. The salmonid isolates showed a relationship toM. chelonei subspecieschelonei andM. chelonei subspeciesabscessus, but had biochemical properties which were intermediate to these two subspecies. Acid methanolysates of the salmonid isolates, analyzed by two dimensional thin-layer chromatography, produced lipid patterns identical to those of both subspecies ofM. chelonei. Sufficient differences in biochemical properties and the inability to grow at 37 °C suggest these isolates be regarded as a new subspecies ofM. chelonei. We propose the nameM. chelonei subspeciespiscarium subsp. nov. (L. adj.piscarius of fish). The isolates were not infectious for mice. Experimental infections were produced in juvenile salmonid fish. The occurrence of mycobacterial infections in selected salmonid populations from Oregon hatcheries and the Pacific Ocean ranged from 0 to 26 %.


Cytosine Pacific Ocean Guanine Mycobacterium Biochemical Property 
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Copyright information

© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. K. Arakawa
    • 1
  • J. L. Fryer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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