Phenotypic and genetic characterization of Piscirickettsia salmonis from Chilean and Canadian salmonids
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background. The study presents the phenotypic and genetic characterization of selected P. salmonis isolates from Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout suffering from SRS (salmonid rickettsial septicemia) in Chile and in Canada. The phenotypic characterization of the P. salmonis isolates were based on growth on different agar media (including a newly developed medium), different growth temperatures, antibiotics susceptibility and biochemical tests. Results. This is the first study differentiating Chilean P. salmonis isolates into two separate genetic groups. Genotyping, based on 16S rRNA-ITS and concatenated housekeeping genes grouped the selected isolates into two clades, constituted by the Chilean strains, while the Canadian isolates form a branch in the phylogenetic tree. The latter consisted of two isolates that were different in both genetic and phenotypic characteristics. The phylogenies and the MLST do not reflect the origin of the isolates with respect to host species. The isolates included were heterogeneous in phenotypic tests. Conclusions. The genotyping methods developed in this study provided a tool for separation of P. salmonis isolates into distinct clades. The SRS outbreaks in Chile are caused by minimum two different genetic groups of P. salmonis. This heterogeneity should be considered in future development of vaccines against this bacterium in Chile. Two different strains of P. salmonis, in regards to genetic and phenotypic characteristics, can occur in the same contemporary outbreak of SRS.