Tackling Vibrio parahaemolyticus in ready-to-eat raw fish flesh slices using lytic phage VPT02 isolated from market oyster

Hwa Jeong You, Jung Hyen Lee, Minjin Oh, Sin Young Hong, Doyeon Kim, Jieun Noh, Minsik Kim, Byoung Sik Kim

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26 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110779
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation ( NRF ) of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea ( NRF-2018R1C1B5045632 and NRF-2020R1F1A1070168 ) and by a grant ( 20162MFDS142 ) from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in 2021 to B.S.K. This work was also supported by the Yonsei University Future-leading Research Initiative of 2019 grant ( 2019-22-0083 ) to M.K. We thank Dr. S. H. Choi at Seoul National University for sharing the FORC strains.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Bacteriophage
  • Biocontrol agent
  • Raw fish flesh slices
  • Ready-to-eat
  • Sustainable food preservative
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus


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