The opportunistic pathogen V. parahaemolyticus is a major causative agent for seafood-borne illness worldwide. It also causes severe vibriosis in aquaculture animals, affecting seafood production with huge economic loss. These issues are getting worse due to the current global warming in oceans, spread of antibiotic resistance, and changes in consumer preference toward ready-to-eat (RTE) food items including seafood. To answer the urgent need for sustainable biocontrol agents against V. parahaemolyticus, we isolated and characterized a novel lytic bacteriophage VPT02 from market oyster. VPT02 lysed antibiotic resistant V. parahaemolyticus strains including FORC_023. Moreover, it exhibited notable properties as a biocontrol agent suitable for seafood-related settings, like short eclipse/latent periods, high burst size, broad thermal and pH stability, and no toxin/antibiotic resistance genes in the genome. Further comparative genomic analysis with the previously reported homologue phage pVp-1 revealed that VPT02 additionally possesses genes related to the nucleotide scavenging pathway, presumably enabling the phage to propagate quickly. Consistent with its strong in vitro bacteriolytic activity, treatment of only a small quantity of VPT02 (multiplicity of infection of 10) significantly increased the survival rate of V. parahaemolyticus–infected brine shrimp (from 16.7% to 46.7%). When applied to RTE raw fish flesh slices, the same quantity of VPT02 achieved up to 3.9 log reduction of spiked V. parahaemolyticus compared with the phage untreated control. Taken together, these results suggest that VPT02 may be a sustainable anti-V. parahaemolyticus agent useful in seafood-related settings including for RTE items.
- Biocontrol agent
- Raw fish flesh slices
- Sustainable food preservative
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus