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Summary

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are often found as sub-dominant microbial components in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of fish and have positive effects on the host. They are generally promising candidates for probiotics and can act as substances to improving both native immune responses and growth performance of animals including fish. In the present study the Persian sturgeon Acipenser persicus autochthonous intestinal LAB were investigated. A total of 90 sturgeon fingerlings were sampled and LAB were isolated and enumerated on MRS agar. Initial identification of 47 LAB isolates using standard biochemical and phenotypic tests revealed five dominant phenotypes. Twenty-one isolates, representatives from each of these phenotypes, were subsequently identified by 16S rRNA sequence analysis. The results showed that cultivable authochthonous LAB ranged from log 2.93 to 5.61 CFU g−1 intestine, with a mean of 4.38 ± 0.58 CFU g−1. 16S rRNA sequence analysis revealed that the LAB community was dominated by Lactococcus spp., with Lactococcus garvieae and Lactococcus lactis accounting for 42.55 and 36.17% of the LAB population, respectively. Pediococcus pentosaceus (14.90%), Weissella cibaria (4.25%) and Enterococcus faecalis (2.13%) were identified as minor components of the LAB community. This is the first report of these LAB as members of the microbial community in the intestine of Acipenser persicus. The results show that both potentially pathogenic (i.e. Lactococcus garvieae) and probiotic (i.e. Lactococcus lactis and Weissella cibaria) LAB inhabit the Persian sturgeon GI tract. Future studies should seek to elucidate the relevance of these species to the host.