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.
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