Prevalence, Antibiotic-Resistance, and Virulence Characteristics of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Restaurant Fish Tanks in Seoul, South Korea

Hyo Won Jeong, Jin Ah Kim, Su Jin Jeon, Seong Seon Choi, Min Kyeong Kim, Hye Jin Yi, Seok Ju Cho, Il Young Kim, Jung Whan Chon, Dong Hyeon Kim, Dongryeoul Bae, Hyunsook Kim, Kun Ho Seo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a marine bacterium that causes foodborne diarrhea. Many seafood restaurants keep live fish and shellfish in fish tanks for use in raw seafood dishes; thus, the present study aimed to investigate the prevalence, antibiotic-resistance, and virulence characteristics exhibited by V. parahaemolyticus detected in restaurant fish-tank water samples collected in Seoul, South Korea. Fish-tank water samples were collected from 69 restaurants in Seoul, and screened for the presence of V. parahaemolyticus via both a commercial detection kit, and a real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect the toxR gene. Antibiotic susceptibility and virulence determinants of V. parahaemolyticus isolates were evaluated and identified using standard disk-diffusion and RT-PCR methods, respectively. Thirty-five (50.7%) of the 69 analyzed water samples were found to be contaminated with V. parahaemolyticus. Those isolates were most often resistant to ampicillin (51.4% of isolates), followed by amikacin and tetracycline (11.4%), and ceftazidime (8.6%). Thirty (85.7%) out of the 35 isolates carried all four cytotoxicity-inducing type III secretion system 1 (T3SS1) genes [specifically, 34 (97.1%), 33 (94.3%), 35 (100%), and 32 (91.4%) isolates carried genes encoding the VP1670, VP1686, VP1689, and VP1694 T3SS1 proteins, respectively]. The type VI secretion systems (T6SS1 and T6SS2) genes were also detected in 11 (31.4%) and 27 (77.1%) isolates, respectively. However, virulence determinants such as the hemolysin (tdh and trh), urease (ureC), T3SS2α, or T3SS2β genes that are known to be associated with enterotoxicity were not detected in all isolates. Although some known major virulence genes were not detected in the V. parahaemolyticus isolates, the results of this study indicate that restaurant fish tanks are a potential source of antibiotic-resistant V. parahaemolyticus. The presented data support the need for strict guidelines to regulate the maintenance of restaurant fish tanks to prevent antibiotic-resistant foodborne vibriosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020 Mar


  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus
  • antibiotic resistance
  • fish-tank water
  • virulence


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