, Volume 94, Issue 4, pp 625-630

Vibrio alginolyticus, a tetrodotoxin-producing bacterium, in the intestines of the fish Fugu vermicularis vermicularis

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To clarify the mechanism of toxification in animals contaminated with tetrodotoxin, the intestinal contents of the puffer Fugu vermicularis vermicularis were examined for bacterial flora in 1985. Twenty-six out of 33 strains belonged to the genus Vibrio. These bacteria were classified into Groups I to VII, based on biological and biochemical characters. High performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, together with mouse bioassay for toxicity, clearly demonstrated that Group I produced tetrodotoxin and anhydrotetrodotoxin under cultivation with a medium composed of Phytone peptone (BBL) and NaCl. Some other groups also produced this toxin and/or related substances to some extent. Strains of Group I were all identified as Vibrio alginolyticus. Two strains among four produced a detectable amount of tetrodotoxin and/or anhydrotetrodotoxin, as measured by all instrumental analyses applied. Our findings suggest that some strains of V. alginolyticus are closely related to the toxification of the puffer, and probably of other species.

Communicated by M. Anraku, Tokyo