We describe the resident heterotrophic aerobic microflora of the salmonid posterior intestine before, during, and after the administration of rations with erythromycin in a hatchery raceway environment. We compare the profiles of medicated Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha with those of control fish that were not fed erythromycin. The combined counts of bacteria and yeasts per gram of fish intestine originating from four upstream raceways ranged from 3.0 ?? 102 to 9.6 ?? 105 colony-forming units (CFU) over the study period. Yeasts were commonly identified in the gut, and abundances ranged from 0% to more than 80% of the CFU. Erythromycin therapy decreased the total microbial population and altered the bacterial diversity in the gut during treatment. The intestinal microbial populations in fish medicated with erythromycin increased rapidly after treatment ceased, and by 25 d after treatment the CFU were similar in samples from both medicated and control fish populations. Of 325 isolates from fish selected for biochemical profiles, we identified a total of eight gram-positive and eight gram-negative genera. Bacillus spp. were common throughout sampling and were identified in samples of fish feed. Erythromycin-resistant, gram-positive bacteria were observed throughout the sampling in medicated and control fish. We identified seven gram-positive and two gram-negative genera in 74 selected isolates from control and erythromycin feeds. Our studies suggest that the aerobic microflora of the posterior intestine varies over time, and it is likely that few resistant genera of concern to human health are present.
Additional publication details
Profile of microflora of the posterior intestine of Chinook salmon before, during, and after administration of rations with and without erythromycin