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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Microbiome structure of milt and ovarian fluid in farmed Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus)

Palaiokostas, Christos; Gohar, Daniyal; Kurta, Khrystyna; Jeuthe, Henrik; Bahram, Mohammad


Limited knowledge exists about the residing microbiome in gamete-related samples in fish. A potential effect between the seminal microbiome composition and sperm quality traits has been previously suggested in humans and livestock. Using a metabarcoding approach, we aimed to gain insights into the structure of the residing prokaryotes and microbial eukaryotes in ovarian fluid (n = 10) and milt (n = 84) from farmed Arctic charr -a species with highly variable reproductive success in captivity. In addition, sperm quality traits were recorded on the sampled males to investigate potential associations with the residing seminal microbiome. Higher microbial diversity was found in the ovarian fluid compared to the milt habitat. Even though the residing microbiome showed distinct differences between the two habitats, substantial overlap was observed, with >70% of the milt core microbiome being found in the ovarian fluid habitat. Statistically significant associations were found be-tween the Shannon diversity index and sperm motility-related traits. Additionally, a fungal operational taxo-nomic unit (OTU) potentially belonging to the Leotiomycetes class was associated with sperm concentration and motility. Overall, our study documents the microbiome structure of gamete-related samples from Arctic charr. Even though some associations were obtained between sperm quality parameters and either microbiome di-versity or with a fungal OTU, follow-up studies on a larger scale with more tank replicates are needed to confirm the robustness and causality of these relationships.


16S sequencing; 18S sequencing; Sperm quality; Ovarian fluid; Arctic charr

Published in

2023, Volume: 574, article number: 739648
Publisher: ELSEVIER