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Dis Aquat Organ. 2019 May 23;134(2):167-173. doi: 10.3354/dao03375.

Shedding and survival of an intracellular pathogenic Endozoicomonas-like organism infecting king scallop Pecten maximus.

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International Centre of Excellence for Aquatic Animal Health, Cefas Weymouth Laboratory, Barrack Road, The Nothe, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8UB, UK.


The Lyme Bay marine protected area (MPA) hosts a valuable population of king scallop Pecten maximus L. Recently, an Endozoicomonas-like organism (ELO), infecting host gill epithelial tissue, was associated with king scallop mass mortality events within the Lyme Bay MPA. Currently, very little is known about its transmission and survival outside the host. In this investigation, animals collected outside of reported mortality events showed high levels of ELO infection. Gill tissue disruption and the release of bacteria into the interlamellar space was seen histologically, suggesting shedding of ELO from host animals. To investigate pathogen survival outside the host, infected scallops were maintained in static water for a 24 h period, and then removed. Over the subsequent 8 d, water samples were collected and the quantity of ELO 16S rRNA transcript was measured by TaqManTM quantitative PCR (qPCR). The 16S rRNA transcript quantity was stable outside the host for 6 d before bacteria survival declined 2 logs (7.9 × 108 16S rRNA to 2.3 × 106 transcripts), suggesting that ELO can survive independently outside the host organism. The ELO-specific qPCR probe can therefore be used in future field studies of ELO prevalence within the environment and fauna of the Lyme Bay MPA.


Endozoicomonas-like organism; Pathogen shedding; Pecten maximus; Quantitative PCR; Rickettsiales-like organism

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