Ulcerative enteritis in Homarus americanus

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Title Ulcerative enteritis in Homarus americanus: case report and molecular characterization of intestinal aerobic bacteria of apparently healthy lobsters in live storage
Author(s) A. L. Battison, B. M. Despres, S. J. Greenwood
Journal Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Date 2008
Volume 99
Issue 2
Start page 129
End page 135
Abstract An intermoult male American lobster, Homarus americanus, with severe intestinal lesions was encountered while collecting samples of aerobic intestinal bacteria from lobsters held in an artificial sea-water recirculation aquarium system. Grossly, the intestine was firm, thickened, and white. Histologic examination revealed a severe, diffuse, ulcerative enteritis which spared the chitin-lined colon, somewhat similar to hemocytic enteritis of shrimp. The bacterial isolates from this lobster were compared to 11 other lobsters lacking gross intestinal lesions. Two organisms, one identified as Vibrio sp. and another most similar to an uncultured proteobacterium (98.9%), clustering with Rhanella and Serratia species using 16S rDNA PCR, were isolated from the intestines of the 11, grossly normal, lobsters and the affected lobster. An additional two intestinal isolates were cultured only from the lobster with ulcerative enteritis. One, a Flavobacterium, similar to Lutibacter litoralis (99.3%), possibly represented a previously described commensal of the distal intestine. The second, a Vibrio sp., was unique to the affected animal. While the etiology of the ulcerative enteritis remains undetermined, this report represents the first description of gross and histologic findings in H. americanus of a condition which has morphologic similarities to hemocytic enteritis of shrimp. An additional observation was a decrease in the number of intestinal isolates recovered from the 11 apparently healthy lobsters compared to that previously reported for recently harvested lobster. More comprehensive studies of the relationship between the health of lobsters, gut microbial flora and the husbandry and environment maintained within holding units are warranted.
DOI 10.1016/j.jip.2008.06.013
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