Intestinal microbial community composition of six Actinopterygii fish species in the Southeastern United States
Ransom, Briana Lee
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The intestines of fish harbor a microbial community that aids digestion and prevents colonization by pathogens. Traditional methods of studying these communities have been cultivation dependent, yet many microorganisms are difficult to grow in the laboratory. In this study, gut microflora of six different Actinopterygii fish species from the southeastern United States were examined by PCR/DGGE analysis and cloning with primers specific for the 16S rRNA genes of Bacteria. Most fish species seem to have gut microflora dominated by either Firmicutes or proteobacteria. Sequences 92-93% similar to species of Mycoplasma were found in pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides) and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), while flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) contained a majority of sequences most similar to Clostridium spp. The gut microflora of pipefish (Syngnathus scovelli) and silver perch (Bairdiella chrysoura) were dominated by members of the division proteobacteria, and speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) were not dominated by either Firmicutes or proteobacteria.