Antagonistic activity of Phaeobacter piscinae against the emerging fish pathogen Vibrio crassostreae in aquaculture feed algae

Line Roager, Despoina Athena-Vasileiadi, Lone Gram, Eva C. Sonnenschein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Aquaculture provides a rich resource of high-quality protein; however, the production is challenged by emerging pathogens such as Vibrio crassostreae. While probiotic bacteria have been proposed as a sustainable solution to reduce pathogen load in aquaculture, their application requires a comprehensive assessment across the aquaculture food chain. The purpose of this study was to determine the antagonistic effect of the potential probiotic bacterium Phaeobacter piscinae against the emerging fish pathogen V. crassostreae in aquaculture feed algae that can be an entry point for pathogens in fish and shellfish aquaculture. P. piscinae strain S26 produces the antibacterial compound tropodithietic acid (TDA). In a plate-based assay, P. piscinae S26 was equally to more effective than the well-studied Phaeobacter inhibens DSM17395 in its inhibition of the fish pathogens Vibrio anguillarum 90-11-286 and V. crassostreae DMC-1. When co-cultured with the microalgae Tetraselmis suecica and Isochrysis galbana, P. piscinae S26 reduced the maximum cell density of V. crassostreae DMC-1 by 2 log and 3-4 log fold, respectively. A TDA-deficient mutant of P. piscinae S26 inhibited V. crassostreae DMC-1 to a lesser extent than the wild type, suggesting that the antagonistic effect involves TDA and other factors. TDA is the prime antagonistic agent of the inhibition of V. anguillarum 90-11-286. Comparative genomics of V. anguillarum 90-11-286 and V. crassostreae DMC-1 revealed that V. crassostreae DMC-1 carries a greater arsenal of antibiotic resistance genes potentially contributing to the reduced effect of TDA. In conclusion, P. piscinae S26 is a promising new candidate for inhibition of emerging pathogens such as V. crassostreae DMC-1 in algal feed systems and could contribute to a more sustainable aquaculture industry.

IMPORTANCE The globally important production of fish and shellfish in aquaculture is challenged by disease outbreaks caused by pathogens such as Vibrio crassostreae. These outbreaks not only lead to substantial economic loss and environmental damage, but treatment with antibiotics can also lead to antibiotic resistance affecting human health. Here, we evaluated the potential of probiotic bacteria, specifically the newly identified strain Phaeobacter piscinae S26, to counteract these threats in a sustainable manner. Through a systematic assessment of the antagonistic effect of P. piscinae S26 against V. crassostreae DMC-1, particularly within the context of algal feed systems, the study demonstrates the effectiveness of P. piscinae S26 as probiotic and thereby provides a strategic pathway for addressing disease outbreaks in aquaculture. This finding has the potential of significantly contributing to the long-term stability of the industry, highlighting the potential of probiotics as an efficient and environmentally conscious approach to safeguarding aquaculture productivity against the adverse impact of pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0143923
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Aquaculture
  • Probiotic
  • Fish pathogens
  • Microalgae


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