The potential of fish to transfer salmonellae from heterogeneous aquatic biofilms into feces was assessed in controlled aquarium studies with Suckermouth Catfish Hypostomus plecostomus and with biofilms inoculated with salmonellae. Neither the presence of catfish nor inoculation with salmonellae had detectable effects on the abundance of the microbial community. Densities of the microbial community were about 10(5) cells/mL in the water during a 1-week period, whereas densities of the microbial community increased 10-fold (10(6) to 10(7) cells/mg) in catfish feces during the same period. Salmonellae were detected by both quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and situ hybridization in water samples immediately after inoculation, in numbers of about 10(4) cells/mL, representing up to 20% of the cells of the microbial community. Numbers decreased by three orders of magnitude within the first 3 d of the study, which represented only 0.01% of the community, and became undetectable after day 5. In catfish feces, numbers of Salmonella initially increased to up to 6% of the cells of the community but then declined. These results suggest that Salmonella are not biomagnified during gut passage, and thus, fish only provide a means for the translocation of this pathogen. Received November 25, 2012; accepted March 25, 2013.
Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 09/2013; 25(3):184-90.