Seasonal Abundance and Distribution of Vibrio cholerae in Coastal Waters Quantified by a 16S-23S Intergenic Spacer Probe
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Vibrio cholerae is the causative agent of the severe diarrheal disease cholera and is indigenous to brackish waters. To advance our understanding of the ecology of this bacterium, we have developed a molecular probing method for detection of V. cholerae in coastal waters. Water samples from 7 locations in the Newport Bay watershed, California were sampled monthly for a whole year. V. cholerae concentrations were determined by membrane filtration-colony hybridization using an oligonucleotide probe targeting the 16S-23S intergenic spacer (ITS) region. In addition to V. cholerae concentrations, environmental parameters, including temperature, salinity, total bacterial direct counts, total viable counts, and chlorophyll a concentrations, were determined for each site. V. cholerae was detected year-round throughout the watershed. Regression analysis indicated that the concentration of V. cholerae inversely correlated with salinity (p < 0.001). The sampling sites located nearest to the Pacific Ocean had lower concentrations, whereas sites located along the brackish San Diego Creek (salinity 0-12‰) routinely had higher concentrations. V. cholerae concentrations also correlated with temperature (p < 0.01) in the watershed, with concentrations ranging from less than 1 CFU mL?1 to 2,930 CFU mL?1 of water. The results of this study indicate that the dynamics of V. cholerae is mainly influenced, out of the parameters measured, by the temperature and salinity of the environment. This information is valuable for understanding the ecology of V. cholerae.
KeywordsChlorophyll Coastal Water Vibrio Cholera Brackish Water
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