Effects of salinity on Yersinia ruckeri infection of rainbow trout and brown trout

Altinok I., Grizzle J.

JOURNAL OF AQUATIC ANIMAL HEALTH, vol.13, no.4, pp.334-339, 2001 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.334-339


Juvenile rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta acclimated to freshwater or salinities of 9.0 parts per thousand or less were exposed to Yersinia ruckeri, the bacterial pathogen that causes enteric redmouth disease (ERM). Both species of fish were kept in the same recirculating systems after bacterial exposure. Rainbow trout mortality was significantly (P < 0.05) different in each salinity: 96.5% in freshwater, 89.5% in water of 1.1 parts per thousand salinity, 81.3% in 3.0 parts per thousand salinity, and 75.0% in 9.0 parts per thousand salinity (model SE = 1.0). All deaths occurred between 3 and 12 d after exposure to Y. ruckeri. Only 2.3% of brown trout in all salinities died, and differences among treatments were not significant. For both fish species, Y. ruckeri was isolated from liver, spleen, and trunk kidney of fish dying during this experiment, and lesions of rainbow trout were consistent with ERM. Yersinia ruckeri was not isolated from brown trout surviving for 21 d after bacterial exposure but was isolated from 3 of 24 surviving rainbow trout; a polymerase chain reaction assay detected the DNA of Y. ruckeri in 3 additional rainbow trout survivors. Neither the lesions of fish with ERM nor the percentage of surviving fish subclinically infected with Y. ruckeri was affected by salinity. Bacterial growth in vitro was not affected by low (less than or equal to9.01 parts per thousand) salinity; however, bacterial adhesion to polystyrene was significantly reduced as salinity increased. Although mortality caused by Y. ruckeri was significantly lower for rainbow trout in water with slightly increased salinity, none of the salinities tested was effective in preventing serious losses caused by this pathogen in recirculating systems.