Flavobacterium columnare

Flavobacterium columnare is a thin Gram-negative rod bacterium of the genus Flavobacterium. The name derives from the way in which the organism grows in rhizoid columnar formations.[citation needed]

The species was first described by Davis (1922), and the name was validated by Bernardet and Grimont (1989).[1]

F. columnare can be identified in the laboratory by a five-step method that demonstrates:

  1. the ability to grow on a medium containing neomycin and polymyxin B
  2. production of yellow pigmented rhizoid (root-like in appearance) colonies
  3. production of a gelatin-degrading enzyme
  4. binding of Congo red dye to the colony
  5. production of a chondroitin sulfate-degrading enzyme[2]

The species has been known previously as Flexibacter columnaris, Bacillus columnaris, and Cytophaga columnaris.

F. columnare is one of the oldest known diseases among warm-water fish, and manifests itself as an infection commonly known as columnaris. Infections are the second leading cause of mortality in pond raised catfish in the southeastern United States.[2]


  1. ^ Bertolini, J. M.; Rohovec, J.S. (1992). "Electrophoretic detection of proteases from different Flexibacter columnaris strains and assessment of their variability". Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 12: 121–128. doi:10.3354/dao012121. 
  2. ^ a b Durborrow, R. M., Thune, R. L., Hawke, J. P., and Camus, A. C. (1988), 'Columnaris Disease - A Bacterial Infection Caused by Flavobacterium columnare', SRAC Publication, No. 479.

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