Potassium permanganate elicits a shift of the external fish microbiome and increases host susceptibility to columnaris disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • The external microbiome of fish is thought to benefit the host by hindering the invasion of opportunistic pathogens and/or stimulating the immune system. Disruption of those microbial communities could increase susceptibility to diseases. Traditional aquaculture practices include the use of potent surface-acting disinfectants such as potassium permanganate (PP, KMnO4) to treat external infections. This study evaluated the effect of PP on the external microbiome of channel catfish and investigated if dysbiosis leads to an increase in disease susceptibility. Columnaris disease, caused by Flavobacterium columnare, was used as disease model. Four treatments were compared in the study: (I) negative control (not treated with PP nor challenged with F. columnare), (II) treated but not challenged, (III) not treated but challenged, and (IV) treated and challenged. Ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA) and pyrosequencing were used to analyze changes in the external microbiome during the experiment. Exposure to PP significantly disturbed the external microbiomes and increased catfish mortality following the experimental challenge. Analysis of similarities of RISA profiles showed statistically significant changes in the skin and gill microbiomes based on treatment and sampling time. Characterization of the microbiomes using 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing confirmed the disruption of the skin microbiome by PP at different phylogenetic levels. Loss of diversity occurred during the study, even in the control group, but was more noticeable in fish subjected to PP than in those challenged with F. columnare. Fish treated with PP and challenged with the pathogen exhibited the least diverse microbiome at the end of the study.

published proceedings

  • Vet Res

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Mohammed, H. H., & Arias, C. R.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Mohammed, Haitham H||Arias, Covadonga R

publication date

  • July 2015