Viable but Nonculturable Vibrio Cholerae O1 in the Aquatic Environment of Argentina

TitleViable but Nonculturable Vibrio Cholerae O1 in the Aquatic Environment of Argentina
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsBinsztein N, Costagliola MC, Pichel M, Jurquiza V, Ramírez FC, Akselman R, Vacchino M, Huq A, Colwell RR
JournalApplied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.Applied and Environmental MicrobiologyAppl. Environ. Microbiol.
Type of Article10.1128/AEM.70.12.7481-7486.2004
ISBN Number0099-2240, 1098-5336

In Argentina, as in other countries of Latin America, cholera has occurred in an epidemic pattern. Vibrio cholerae O1 is native to the aquatic environment, and it occurs in both culturable and viable but nonculturable (VNC) forms, the latter during interepidemic periods. This is the first report of the presence of VNC V. cholerae O1 in the estuarine and marine waters of the Río de la Plata and the Argentine shelf of the Atlantic Ocean, respectively. Employing immunofluorescence and PCR methods, we were able to detect reservoirs of V. cholerae O1 carrying the virulence-associated genes ctxA and tcpA. The VNC forms of V. cholerae O1 were identified in samples of water, phytoplankton, and zooplankton; the latter organisms were mainly the copepods Acartia tonsa, Diaptomus sp., Paracalanus crassirostris, and Paracalanus parvus. We found that under favorable conditions, the VNC form of V. cholerae can revert to the pathogenic, transmissible state. We concluded that V. cholerae O1 is a resident of Argentinean waters, as has been shown to be the case in other geographic regions of the world.