Antibiotics modulate biofilm formation in fish pathogenic isolates of atypical Aeromonas salmonicida


Desbois AP, Cook KJ & Buba E (2020) Antibiotics modulate biofilm formation in fish pathogenic isolates of atypical Aeromonas salmonicida. Journal of Fish Diseases, 43 (11), pp. 1373-1379.

Atypical Aeromonas salmonicida causes furunculosis infections of non‐salmonid fish, which requires antibiotic therapy. However, antibiotics may induce biofilm in some bacteria, which protects them against hostile conditions while allowing them to persist on surfaces, thus forming a reservoir for infection. The aim of this study was to determine whether atypical isolates of A. salmonicida increased biofilm in the presence of two antibiotics, florfenicol and oxytetracycline. A microtitre plate assay was used to quantify biofilm in the presence and absence of each antibiotic. Fifteen of 28 isolates formed biofilms under control conditions, while 23 of 28 isolates increased biofilm formation in the presence of at least one concentration of at least one antibiotic. For oxytetracycline, the most effective concentration causing biofilm to increase was one‐quarter of that preventing visible bacterial growth, whereas for florfenicol it was one‐half of this value. This is the first study to demonstrate that a bacterial pathogen of fish increases biofilm in response to antibiotics. Biofilm formation may increase the risk of re‐infection in culture systems and this lifestyle favours the transmission of genetic material, which has implications for the dissemination of antibiotic‐resistance genes and demonstrates the need for enhanced disease prevention measures against atypical A. salmonicida.

antimicrobial; aquaculture; ballan wrasse; cleaner fish; florfenicol; oxytetracycline

Journal of Fish Diseases: Volume 43, Issue 11

Publication date30/11/2020
Publication date online31/08/2020
Date accepted by journal14/07/2020