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 Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>