Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae abundance in river water

Ines Fontes, Hanna Hartikainen, Jason W. Holland, Chris J. Secombes, Beth Okamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae is a myxozoan parasite of freshwater bryozoans and salmonids, causing proliferative kidney disease in the latter. To date, detection of the parasite has required collection of hosts and subsequent molecular or histological examination. The release of infectious spores from both hosts offers an opportunity to detect the parasite in water samples. We developed a novel SYBR® Green quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay for T. bryosalmonae in water samples which provides an estimation of bryozoan malacospore numbers and tested the assay in 3 rivers in southern England (UK) over a period of 5 wk. The assay proved to be both highly sensitive and specific to the parasite, detecting low levels of spores throughout the study period. Larger-volume samples afforded greater detection likelihood, but did not increase the number of spores detected, possibly as a result of low and patchy spore distributions and lack of within-site replication of large-volume samples. Based on point-measurements, temperature was positively associated with the likelihood of detecting spores, possibly reflecting the temperature dependence of spore shedding from bryozoan hosts. The presence of T. bryosalmonae in water samples was predominantly influenced by spatial (sites within rivers, amongst rivers) and temporal (sampling dates) factors, while the latter also influenced quantification cycle (Cq) values and spore abundance. Environmental monitoring for infectious stages can complement traditional methods, providing faster and easier detection and avoiding potentially prolonged searching, collecting and destructive sampling of invertebrate and vertebrate hosts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-157
Number of pages13
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2017


  • Proliferative kidney disease
  • Myxozoa
  • qPCR
  • Environmental DNA
  • Disease risk
  • Endoparasite


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