Seasonality of pathogenic Vibrio spp. in seawater, plankton, and shellfish of North and Baltic Sea
The german zoonose research network VibrioNet: Climate warming and the emergence of seafood- and waterborne vibrioses
Bacteria of the genus Vibrio occur mainly in estuaries, marine coastal waters and sediments, free living or attached to particles. Several Vibrio species are serious human pathogens. Contact with contaminated water and consumption of raw seafood are the main infection factors for Vibrio associated diseases. Traditionally, most gastroenteritis outbreaks caused by V. parahaemolyticus are linked to warmer regions but an increase of pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus also in temperate waters can be expected. Global warming leads to rising water temperatures and therefore expanded niches for mesophilic Vibrio spp.. Climate change could have therefore direct influence on the growth of Vibrio spp. and might also contribute to a more northerly geographic dispersal of pathogenic Vibrio spp.
To this date, studies about potentially human pathogenic Vibrio spp. such as V. parahaemolyticus or V. vulnificus are still rare in Northern Europe. In order to improve our understanding of climate-driven changes of incidences of vibrioses and to assess the risk for the German population, it requires (i) a systematic surveillance programme for non-cholera Vibrio illnesses, (ii) standardized, validated, fit-for-purpose methodologies, (iii) experimental data on the molecular determinants of host-specific pathogenicity and transmission, and (iv) environmental data on the population dynamics and virulence characteristics of these pathogens. VibrioNet will jointly address these issues by bringing together expert researchers of marine ecology, infectious diseases, veterinary and human medicine, as well as governmental institutions and the food industry.
Sub-Project C2: Seasonality of pathogenic Vibrio spp. in seawater, plankton, and shellfish of North and Baltic Sea
In the first year of my PhD project I will isolate and cultivate Vibrio parahaemolyticus from environmental sources e.g. water, plankton and sediment. Samples will be collected on a trip with the research ship “Heincke” in German coastal waters and the Danish coast. My first aim is to quantify V. parahaemolyticus occurrence in the North Sea according to the driving environmental parameters (temperature, salinity, plankton etc.). Secondly I want to differentiate pathogenic from nonpathogenic Vibrio species. Therefore I will make use of several analytical approaches e.g. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (Bruker Biotyper System) and ERIC-PCR.
- MARMIC PhD student
MALDI-TOF Biotyper System
A key methodological approach within the whole project framework will be the use of MALDI-TOF for the general selection of colonies growing on Vibrio selective media and the primary classification of all new Vibrio isolates. In contrast to the analytical workflow for microbial identification in clinical microbiology, where MALDI-TOF was introduced successfully in the last years, only few MALDI-TOF studies on environmental bacteria where performed until now. All MALDI-TOF spectra and classifications will be implemented in a comprehensive database offering an integrated analysis of several methodological approaches (BioNumerics).