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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Food Safety and Intervention Technologies Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #290479

Title: Natural modulators of Vibrios in seawater and shellfish

item Richards, Gary

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/28/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Naturally occurring marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus, are major threats to the safety of molluscan shellfish in the US and elsewhere. Illnesses range from mild gastrointestinal upset to septicemia and death. In studies on the uptake and persistence of V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus in Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), we identified bacterial predators in natural seawater. These predators reduced high Vibrio counts in oysters and seawater to negligible levels within 3 days. Electron microscopy identified these predators as Bdellovibrio and Like Organisms (BALOs). BALOs were easily detected in seawater from the Atlantic Coast of Delaware, the Gulf Coast of Alabama, and from Hawaii. These BALOs significantly reduced Vibrio counts in both seawater and oysters and were present in Delaware Coastal seawater year round. In addition to the BALOs, bacteriophages were identified against a variety of Vibrio species and also were shown to be effective in reducing Vibrio counts in seawater. Bacteriophages are bacterial viruses that invade and kill susceptible bacteria. Together, these studies demonstrate that BALO’s and bacteriophages are natural mechanisms that help to modulate pathogenic Vibrios within the marine environment.