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Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1992 Jul;42(3):451-8.

Flexibacter ovolyticus sp. nov., a pathogen of eggs and larvae of Atlantic halibut, Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Plant Physiology, University of Bergen, Norway.


A psychrotrophic Flexibacter sp., Flexibacter ovolyticus sp. nov., was isolated from the adherent bacterial epiflora of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.) eggs and was shown to be an opportunistic pathogen for halibut eggs and larvae. The strains which we isolated had the enzymatic capacity to dissolve both the chorion and the zona radiata of the egg shells. A total of 35 isolates were characterized by using morphological and biochemical tests. These strains were rod shaped, gram negative, Kovacs oxidase positive, and pale yellow and exhibited gliding motility. They did not produce acid from any of the wide range of carbohydrates tested. Our isolates had the ability to degrade gelatin, tyrosine, DNA, and Tween 80. Starch, cellulose, and chitin were not degraded. The strains were catalase and nitrate reductase positive, did not produce H2S, and did not grow under anaerobic conditions. F. ovolyticus resembles Flexibacter maritimus, but differs from the latter species in several biochemical and physiological characteristics. DNAs from F. ovolyticus strains had guanine-plus-cytosine contents which ranged from 30.3 to 32.0 mol% (strains EKC001, EKD002T [T = type strain], and VKB004), and DNA-DNA hybridization studies revealed levels of relatedness between F. ovolyticus EKD002T and F. maritimus NCMB 2154T and NCMB 2153 of 42.7 and 30.0%, respectively. Compared with previously described Cytophaga and Flexibacter spp. with low guanine-plus-cytosine contents, F. ovolyticus constitutes a new species. Strain EKD002 (= NCIMB 13127) is the type strain of the new species.

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