Tracing Vibrio parahaemolyticus in oysters (Tiostrea chilensis) using a Green Fluorescent Protein tag
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Oysters feed by removing particles from the water. This food is composed of complex mixtures of living microorganisms, detrtus, and inorganic particles that widely range in size. It has been speculated that some marine heterotrophic microorganisms, such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus, could enter in this digestive process and persist in the oyster tissue. Since some strains of V parahaemolyticus are pathogenic for humans, these bacteria are considered to be a constant menace for health and aquaculture. In order to improve the safety of marine products it is imperative to obtain more knowledge about Tiostrea chilensis and its interactions with V parahaemolyticus. In this study V parahaemolyticus ATCC 17802 was tagged using plasmid pKV111, which carries the gfp gene that codifies a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), thereby allowing these strains (VpGFP) to be detected under epifluorescence microscopy. Results obtained showed that T chilensis can filter VpGFP directly from sea water and suggested that most of them were digested by oysters. However, in the postharvest stage, a small fraction can remain in oyster tissues after deputation and VpGFP can rapidly grow if the bivalves are stored at room temperature.