Background: Microorganisms are widespread in all environments, including in and on animal bodies. The gut microbiome has an essential influence on fish health, and is affected by several persistent and harmful organic and inorganic contaminants. Considering the shifts in gut microbiota composition observed in those studies, we hypothesized that certain microbial groups in the gut can serve as indicators of pollution. To test this hypothesis, we explored the possibility of identifying key microbial players that indicate environmental contamination. Methods: Published 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing data generated from the gut microbiota of Atlantic cod caught in geographically different Norwegian waters were used for bacterial diversity comparison. Results: Different microbiomes were identified between the northern Norway and southern Norway samples. Several bacterial genera previously identified as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degraders were present only in the samples collected in the southern Norway area, suggesting fish contamination with oil-related compounds. Conclusions: The results contribute to the identification of bacterial taxa present in the Atlantic cod gut that indicate fish exposure to contaminants in the marine environment.
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