University Of Tasmania

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Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L., 1758) gut microbiota profile correlates with flesh pigmentation: cause or effect?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 02:22 authored by Nguyen, CDH, Gianluca AmorosoGianluca Amoroso, Ventura, T, Minich, JJ, Elizur, A

In Tasmania (Australia), during the marine phase, it has been observed that flesh pigmentation significantly drops in summer, possibly due to high water temperatures (> 20 °C). Although this deleterious effect of summer temperatures has been ascertained, there is a lack of knowledge of the actual mechanisms behind the impaired uptake and/or loss of pigments in Atlantic salmon in a challenging environment. Since the microbial community in the fish intestine significantly changes in relation to the variations of water temperature, this study was conducted to assess how the gut microbiota profile also correlates with the flesh color during temperature fluctuation. We sampled 68 fish at three time points covering the end of summer to winter at a marine farm in Tasmania, Australia. Flesh color was examined in two ways: the average color throughout and the evenness of the color between different areas of the fillet. Using 16S rRNA sequencing of the v3–v4 region, we determined that water temperature corresponded to changes in the gut microbiome both with alpha diversity (Kruskal-Wallis tests P = 0.05) and beta diversity indices (PERMANOVA P = 0.001). Also, there was a significant correlation between the microbiota and the color of the fillet (PERMANOVA P = 0.016). There was a high abundance of Pseudoalteromonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Microbacteriaceae, and Vibrionaceae in the pale individuals. Conversely, carotenoid-synthesizing bacteria families (Bacillaceae, Mycoplasmataceae, Pseudomonas, Phyllobacteriaceae, and Comamonadaceae) were found in higher abundance in individuals with darker flesh color.


Publication title

Marine Biotechnology








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



Place of publication

175 Fifth Ave, New York, USA, Ny, 10010

Rights statement

Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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