Phage therapy may represent a viable alternative to antibiotics to inactivate fish pathogenic bacteria. Its use, however, requires the awareness of novel kinetics phenomena not applied to conventional drug treatments. The main objective of this work was to isolate bacteriophages with potential to inactivate fish pathogenic bacteria, without major effects on the structure of natural bacterial communities of aquaculture waters. The survival was determined in marine water, through quantification by the soft agar overlay technique. The host specificity was evaluated by cross infection. The ecological impact of phage addition on the structure of the bacterial community was evaluated by DGGE of PCR amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments. The survival period varied between 12 and 91 days, with a higher viability for Aeromonas salmonicida phages. The phages of Vibrio parahaemolyticus and of A. salmonicida infected bacteria of different families with a high efficacy of plating. The specific phages of pathogenic bacteria had no detectable impact on the structure of the bacterial community. In conclusion, V. parahaemolyticus and A. salmonicida phages show good survival time in marine water, have only a moderated impact on the overall bacterial community structure and the desired specificity for host pathogenic bacteria, being potential candidates for therapy of fish infectious diseases in marine aquaculture systems.
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