Annals of Microbiology

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 2311–2321 | Cite as

Species diversity, spatial distribution, and virulence associated genes of culturable vibrios in a brackish coastal Mediterranean environment

  • Giorgia Matteucci
  • Serena Schippa
  • Gustavo Di Lallo
  • Luciana Migliore
  • Maria Cristina Thaller
Original Article


The Vibrio genus is widespread in marine and brackish environments, and several species are human and animal pathogens of global importance. Vibrios adapt rapidly to many environmental stresses, so that brackish environments can be both a suitable niche and a possible reservoir for them. To test the occurrence of culturable vibrios and their possible correlation with environmental factors in a temperate brackish environment, a 1-year sampling study was performed in three brackish ponds located along the Central Thyrrenian coast in the Macchiatonda Nature Reserve (Santa Marinella, district of Rome, Italy). Molecular methods were used to detect Vibrio cholerae, V. parahaemolyticus, and V. vulnificus pathogenicity-associated genes among the Vibrio isolates. Out of 130 Vibrio isolates identified by sequencing a recA fragment, 70 harbored virulence-associated genes including ctx, ace, tcpA, tdh, trh, vvhA, vllY, and toxRS, so confirming the spread of virulence determinants across the environmental isolates. Ecological analysis showed that, although the water temperature is known to be a strong predictor of abundance and distribution of vibrios, its influence accounts for 27 % of the observed variance in the Macchiatonda samples, increasing to 40 % when combined with salinity.


Vibrios Brackish environment Virulence-associated genes 



This work was supported by “Fondazione CARICIV (CAssa di Risparmio di CIVitavecchia)” 2009_research to MCT and LM, by commitment of the Comune di Santa Marinella (Rome, Italy). The authors are grateful to all the Macchiatonda Natural Reserve Rangers for their support for the samplings, and to Federica Tamburi for her help in handling figures.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and the University of Milan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giorgia Matteucci
    • 1
  • Serena Schippa
    • 2
  • Gustavo Di Lallo
    • 1
  • Luciana Migliore
    • 1
  • Maria Cristina Thaller
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentUniversity of Rome, Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Public Health and Infectious DiseasesUniversity of Rome La SapienzaRomeItaly

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