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Carnobacterium maltaromaticum vs. Vibrio (Listonella) anguillarum in the midgut of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.): an ex vivo study


Correspondence: E Ringø, Department of Marine Biotechnology, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway. E-mail:


The present investigation addresses whether the midgut (MG) of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) is an infection route for Vibrio (Listonella) anguillarum serotype 02 β and if Carnobacterium maltaromaticum, a probiotic bacterium, can out-compete the pathogen and modulate the autochthonous MG microbiota. This was investigated by using an ex vivo method the intestinal sac, utilized previously in studies on Atlantic cod and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Exposure of the MG to V. (L.) anguillarum did not reveal any cell damage indicating that the MG does not appear to be an infection route for V. (L.) anguillarum in healthy Atlantic cod. This finding together with previous observations on Atlantic cod and Atlantic salmon indicate that intestine as an infection route might vary between these two species. When the MG was exposed to C. maltaromaticum, no cell damage or cellular disruptions were observed. As budding from the apices of microvilli was observed in all treatments exposed to bacteria, we suggest that budding might be involved in the primary barrier against bacterial infection. However, to clarify this hypothesis, further studies are needed. Exposure of the MG to the probiotics and pathogenic bacteria indicated that C. maltaromaticum, to some extent, is able to out-compete V. (L.) anguillarum but the topic merits further investigation. Analysis of the MG microbiota after sterile saline solution and bacterial exposure indicates that bacteria related to Staphylococcus sciuri belong to the autochthonous gut microbiota in Atlantic cod.