Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UNH researchers discover new method to detect most common bacteria contaminating oysters

23.04.2015

Vibrio outbreaks have sickened shellfish consumers in northeast

In a major breakthrough in shellfish management and disease prevention, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have discovered a new method to detect a bacterium that has contaminated New England oyster beds and sickened consumers who ate the contaminated shellfish. The new patent-pending detection method - which is available for immediate use to identify contaminated shellfish - is a significant advance in efforts to identify shellfish harboring disease-carrying strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus.


In New Hampshire's Great Bay, a team of UNH undergraduate and graduate students collect oysters to look at environmental conditions that might favor V. parahaemolyticus.

Credit: Jeremy Gasowski, UNH Communications and Public Affairs

"Since 2012, the Northeast has been experiencing an ongoing outbreak caused by a non-native strain of V. parahaemolyticus that is endemic to the Pacific Northwest. A significant challenge for managing shellfish harvesting to prevent infections is that we were previously unable to tell the difference between this strain and harmless residents. The new detection platform will provide rapid, and more importantly, specific quantification of the invasive strain, we hope allowing more effective management of harvesting that will protect this important regional industry," said Cheryl Whistler, associate professor of molecular, cellular, and biomedical sciences.

The new detection method was developed by Whistler; Steve Jones, research associate professor of natural resources and the environment; and Vaughn Cooper, associate professor of molecular, cellular, and biomedical sciences. It was developed using genome sequencing and analysis. The research is presented in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in the article "Use of Whole Genome Phylogeny and Comparisons in the Development of a Multiplex-PCR Assay to Identify Sequence Type 36 Vibrio parahaemolyticus."

V. parahaemolyticus isthe most common bacterial infection acquired from seafood in the world. There are an estimated 35,000 cases each year in the United States. In recent years, there has been an increase in the incidence of shellfish contamination, which has caused costly recalls of shellfish and shellfish bed closures in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Some strains of the microbe cause disease and others do not.

Whistler said the new detection method is available for immediate use, and can benefit researchers and managers, food inspectors, wholesalers, and retailers. It could form the basis for a diagnostic test for widespread use in both environmental detection and clinical diagnosis. In addition to enabling the research community, the UNHInnovation office will be seeking a partner to license the patent-pending innovation for commercial applications.

"New ideas that create jobs and healthy communities are among the many advancements that have made the United States the leading economic power in the world. Much of this innovation takes place at top research universities like UNH. This patent and the research that led to it underscores the need for continued federal investments in scientific research that will allow the United States to remain an innovation leader," said Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research at UNH.

The new detection method identifies the Atlantic ST36 strain of the bacterium. UNH researchers used genotyping and whole genome DNA sequencing at the UNH Hubbard Center for Genome Studies on 94 clinical isolates collected from 2010 to 2013 in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. They determined that it is this particular strain of the bacterium that has been responsible for the bulk of the Vibrio outbreaks in the Northeast in recent years. Researchers were able to identify specific genes found only in the invasive strain.

Details on the regional pathogens used to develop the new detection method are presented in the April issue of Frontiers in Microbiology in the article "Genetic characterization of clinical and environmental Vibrio parahaemolyticus from the Northeast USA reveals emerging resident and non-indigenous pathogen lineages."

The research has been funded for multiple years by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station (NHAES), which receives support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Scientists also received support from NH Sea Grant, which is funded by National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, UNH School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

"This important breakthrough is an example of the critical need to support a strong research portfolio that spans the range from solving immediate issues to developing fundamental knowledge about the agricultural, food, and environmental systems that are central to the experiment station's mission. At some point, the information we derive from what is commonly termed basic research becomes critical to solving new problems as they arise," said Jon Wraith, dean of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and director of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station.

The presence of pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus is rare in the Northeast as cooler water temperatures protect against bacterial growth. However, with the regions' rise in ocean temperatures and unusually heavy, intermittent rainstorms, conditions have changed over time, generating a host of problems that impact people's health and the economy.

In the 1980s, UNH scientists were the first to detect Vibrio vulnificus - a potentially more serious species of Vibrio - north of Long Island Sound. Since then Vibrios have been studied throughout the shellfish and waters of the Great Bay Estuary.

###

Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH's original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 13,000 undergraduate and 2,500 graduate students.

Media Contact

Lori Wright
lori.wright@unh.edu
603-862-1452

 @unhscience

http://www.unh.edu/news 

Lori Wright | EurekAlert!

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>