Isolation, identification and characterisation of an emerging fish pathogen, Acinetobacter pittii, from diseased loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) in China

  • Xu Wang
  • Jie Li
  • Xiaojuan Cao
  • Weimin Wang
  • Yi LuoEmail author
Original Paper


Although members of the genus Acinetobacter have emerged as important nosocomial pathogens causing severe human infections, there are few reports about their occurrence as fish pathogens. In this study, five bacterial strains were isolated from diseased loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) cultured in a farm in China. The diseased loach displayed shedding of skin mucus and many petechial haemorrhages all over the body. Based on sequence analyses of 16S rRNA and rpoB genes, the isolates were identified as Acinetobacter pittii. An experimental infection assay confirmed their pathogenicity to loach. The results of artificial infection in zebrafish (Barchydanio rerio) and nematode (Caenorhabditis elegans) suggested that, as well as loach, these A. pittii isolates are pathogenic and highly virulent to these organisms. Multilocus sequence typing analysis revealed that all the isolates belong to sequence type (ST) 839, which may be the dominant clone causing fish disease and exhibits a close phylogenetic relationship with ST396 from human clinical samples in Korea or Taiwan China. This is the first report demonstrating that A. pittii is an emerging causal agent of mass mortality in loach and poses significant risks to fish culturing besides causing human clinical infection worldwide.


Acinetobacter pittii Fish pathogen Misgurnus anguillicaudatus Pathogenicity Multilocus sequence typing 



This work was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province, China (2014CKB504) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31570078). We thank Prof. Lu Chengping and Prof. Liu Yongjie (Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China) for generously providing the A. hydrophila strain J-1. We also thank Prof. Dr. Sun (State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China) for generously providing C. elegans wild-type strain N2.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All experiments were conducted following the guidelines approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Huazhong Agricultural University (Ethical Approval No. HBAC20091138).

Supplementary material

10482_2019_1312_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 3891 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Fisheries, Key Laboratory of Freshwater Animal Breeding, Ministry of AgricultureHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Agricultural MicrobiologyHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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