Due to the strong influence of the gut microbiota on fish health, dominant bacterial species in the gut are strong candidates for probiotics. This study aimed to characterize the gut microbiota of channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus to provide a baseline for future probiotic studies.Methods and Results:
The gut microbiota of five pooled individuals from each fish species was identified using 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. Microbiota differed significantly between fish species in terms of bacterial species evenness. However, all gut communities analysed were dominated by the phylum Fusobacteria, specifically the species Cetobacterium somerae. Relatively high abundances of the human pathogens Plesiomonas shigelloides and Fusobacterium mortiferum, as well as members of the genus Aeromonas, suggest these species are normal inhabitants of the gut.Conclusions:
The overwhelming dominance of the genus Cetobacterium in all species warrants further investigation into its role in the fish gut microbiota.Significance and Impact of the Study:
This study provides the first characterization of the gut microbiota of three economically significant fishes and establishes a baseline for future probiotic trials.