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Microb Ecol. 1990 Jan;19(1):21-41. doi: 10.1007/BF02015051.

Bacterial flora of fishes: A review.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Queensland, 4067, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.


Bacterial floras isolated from eggs, skin, gills, and intestines have been described for a limited number of fish species. Generally, the range of bacterial genera isolated is related to the aquatic habitat of the fish and varies with factors such as the salinity of the habitat and the bacterial load in the water. In many investigations, identification of isolates to the genus level only makes it difficult to determine the precise relationships of aquatic and fish microfloras. Bacteria recovered from the skin and gills may be transient rather than resident on the fish surfaces. Microfloras of fish intestines appear to vary with the complexity of the fish digestive system. The genera present in the gut generally seem to be those from the environment or diet which can survive and multiply in the intestinal tract, although there is evidence for a distinct intestinal microflora in some species. While obligate anaerobes have been recovered from carp and tilapia intestines, low ambient temperatures may prevent colonization by anaerobes in species such as rainbow trout.


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