New pathogen found in endangered cichlids

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Scientists examining bacteria sampled from rare cichlid fishes from Lake Barombi Mbo have discovered that they harbour a previously unknown pathogenic bacteria.

Pathobiologists at the University of Stirling's Institute of Aquaculture named the new mycobacteria Mycobacterium stomatepiae, after its host, the endangered cichlid Stomatepia mariae.

Their study, which has just been published in the International Journal of Systematic Evolutionary Microbiology, says that the slow-growing, unpigmented (or non-chromogenic) were found in samples extracted from Stomatepia mariae held at the London Zoo Aquarium.

The experts believe that the mycobacteria are related to Mycobacterium florentinum, a bacterium that causes sickness in humans.

For more information see the paper: Pourahmad F, Cervellione F, Thompson KD, Taggart JB, Adams A, Richards RH (2008) - Mycobacterium stomatepiae sp. nov., a slowly growing, non-chromogenic species isolated from fish. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2008 Dec;58(Pt 12):2821-7.