Comparison of Delivery Methods in Phage Therapy against Flavobacterium columnare Infections in Rainbow Trout

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Heidi M. T. Kunttu
  • Anniina Runtuvuori-Salmela
  • Middelboe, Mathias
  • Jason Clark
  • Lotta Riina Sundberg

Viruses of bacteria, bacteriophages, specifically infect their bacterial hosts with minimal effects on the surrounding microbiota. They have the potential to be used in the prevention and treatment of bacterial infections, including in the field of food production. In aquaculture settings, disease-causing bacteria are often transmitted through the water body, providing several applications for phage-based targeting of pathogens, in the rearing environment, and in the fish. We tested delivery of phages by different methods (via baths, in phage-coated material, and via oral delivery in feed) to prevent and treat Flavobacterium columnare infections in rainbow trout fry using three phages (FCOV-S1, FCOV-F2, and FCL-2) and their hosts (FCO-S1, FCO-F2, and B185, respectively). Bath treatments given before bacterial infection and at the onset of the disease symptoms were the most efficient way to prevent F. columnare infections in rainbow trout, possibly due to the external nature of the disease. In a flow-through system, the presence of phage-coated plastic sheets delayed the onset of the disease. The oral administration of phages first increased disease progression, although total mortality was lower at the end of the experiment. When analysed for shelf-life, phage titers remained highest when maintained in bacterial culture media and in sterile lake water. Our results show that successful phage therapy treatment in the aquaculture setting requires optimisation of phage delivery methods in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number914
Issue number8
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Aquaculture, Bacterial infection, Bacteriophage, Columnaris disease, Flavobacterium columnare, Phage delivery, Phage therapy, Rainbow trout, Treatment, Virulence

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