Abundance and diversity of predominant sulfate-reducing bacteria in the gut of pufferfish
Sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) exist in anaerobic environments, such as marine sediments, and produce hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic to marine animals. However, little is known about the ecology of SRB in the gut of fish. In the present study, we used molecular techniques to analyze the predominant SRB community in the gut of pufferfish inhabiting coastal areas of Japan. The density of the dissimilatory sulfite reductase alpha gene, dsrA, derived from SRB and total count of bacteria in guts of pufferfish was 4.4í—106 - 1.8í—107 copies/g and 3.5í—108 - 6.3í—109 cells/g, respectively, in all specimens. Clones of dsrA associated with Desulfobulbus oligotrophicus, a dominant SRB species, were detected in all 12 libraries, accounting for 57.7-94.3% of clones in each library. These results strongly suggest that SRB are indigenous bacteria in the gut of pufferfish and that hydrogen sulfide produced by SRB may be a risk factor for fish health.
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