We report the prevalence and characterization of Vibrio spp. isolated from marketed Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) in Korea. A total of 30 isolates including, V. parahaemolyticus (n = 2), V. alginolyticus (n = 9), V. fluvialis (n = 7), V. diabolicus (n = 7), V. anguillarum (n = 4) and V. aestuarianus (n = 1) were isolated and identified. The phenotypic pathogenicity tests demonstrated that, 18 (60%), 21 (70%), 18 (60%), 7 (23%), 22 (73%), 21 (70%), 9 (30%), and 11 (33%) of the isolates were positive for DNase, protease, gelatinase, lipase, phospho‐lipase, amylase, slime production, and haemolysis, respectively. PCR assays revealed the prevalence of toxR, tlh, VAC, vfh, hupO, and VPI genes among the isolates with varying combinations. A close genetic affinity among V. alginolyticus and V. diabolicus strains was observed. Also the virulence genes specific to one Vibrio species were detected among other species as well. In addition, 29/30 (97%) isolates were multidrug resistant, while higher resistance rates were shown for ampicillin, colistin, vancomycin, and cephalothin. The results imply that the scallops in Korean markets harbor Vibrio spp., which are potentially virulent and multidrug resistant, thus their public health implications should not be underrated.
For many decades, vibrios are known for its importance in seafoodborne illnesses. Yesso scallop is the most popular and extensively cultured scallop variety in Korea. Therefore, we sought to assess the marketed fresh Yesso scallops for the prevalence and molecular characterization of Vibrio species. A total of 30 strains were isolated and identified by a series of biochemical tests, subsequent gyrB gene sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. Six Vibrio spp. were identified with V. alginolyticus as the most prevalent. Interestingly, V. alginolyticus was genetically similar to V. diabolicus. Besides, the virulence genes specific to V. alginolyticus and V. parahaemolyticus were observed in other species as well. It suggests that the detection of the species‐specific genes does not ensure the correct identification of pathogenic vibrios. Further, the occurrence of V. parahaemolyticus‐specific virulence genes in other Vibrio spp. potentially complicates the correct tracking of V. parahaemolyticus infections. In addition, 73% of these Vibrio spp. isolates showed multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) indices higher than 0.2, which signifies their high risk of infection. Collectively, these results provide important evidence that not only the well‐known pathogenic vibrios like V. parahaemolyticus, but also other Vibrio spp. can act alike because of their similar characteristics.