Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 23, pp 9973–9989 | Cite as

Identification and typing of fish pathogenic species of the genus Tenacibaculum

  • Clara Fernández-Álvarez
  • Ysabel SantosEmail author


Tenacibaculosis is a major bacterial disease that causes severe fish outbreaks and losses and limits the culture of a variety of commercially valuable anadromous and marine fish species in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. Fish affected by tenacibaculosis have external lesions and necrosis that affect different areas of the body surface, reducing their commercial value. Several species of Tenacibaculum have been identified as the causal agent of tenacibaculosis in fish, including Tenacibaculum maritimum, Tenacibaculum soleae, Tenacibaculum discolor, Tenacibaculum gallaicum, Tenacibaculum dicentrarchi and “Tenacibaculum finnmarkense” (quotations marks denote species that have not been validly published). Diagnosis of tenacibaculosis is usually based on culture-dependent detection and identification techniques which are time-consuming and do not allow to differentiate closely related species. The development of reliable techniques for studying the relationships between members of the genus Tenacibaculum and for distinguishing fish-pathogenic species of Tenacibaculum genus is, therefore, a key step in understanding the diversity and incidence of tenacibaculosis in global aquaculture, designing effective prevention strategies and early implementation of infection control measures. In this review, recent advances in molecular, serological, proteomic and chemotaxonomic techniques developed for the identification and differentiation of Tenacibaculum species, as well as for the analysis of their genetic and epidemiological relationships are discussed. Key features of current diagnostic methods likely to facilitate control and prevention of tenacibaculosis and to avoid the spread of its aetiological agents are also outlined.


Chemotaxonomic typing Diagnosis Genotyping Molecular typing Proteomic typing Serotyping Tenacibaculum sp. 



This work was partially funded by the proof of concept “Acelerador de transferencia” 2017 from the Banco de Santander and Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. Clara Fernández-Álvarez is grateful to Banco de Santander and Universidad de Santiago de Compostela for a research contract.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

Authors 1 and 2 declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Edificio CIBUS–Facultad de Biología and Instituto de Investigación y Análisis AlimentariosUniversidade de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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