ABSTRACT

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a widespread bacterium in the marine environment and is one of the leading causes of food-derived bacterial poisoning in humans worldwide. The main objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, virulence factors, and antibiotic and heavy metal resistance profiles of V. parahaemolyticus in Pacific mackerel (Pneumatophorus japonicus) from different markets in Zhejiang Province, People's Republic of China. In total, 112 (31.11%) V. parahaemolyticus isolates were identified from 360 Pacific mackerel samples, with an extremely low occurrence of the virulence genes trh (1.79%, 2 of 112) and tdh (0%, 0 of 112). Antibiotic resistance testing revealed that most isolates showed resistance to ampicillin (96.43%, 108 of 112) and streptomycin (90.18%, 101 of 112), whereas all strains were sensitive to kanamycin, florfenicol, cefamandole, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Furthermore, 46.43% (52 of 112) of isolates, which had 12 different phenotypes, were classified as multidrug resistant. In addition, the multiple antibiotic resistance index values of isolates were between 0.05 and 0.63, and the maximum multiple antibiotic resistance index was attributed to two isolates that exhibited resistance to 12 antibiotics. Heavy metal resistance patterns were similar among the six different markets. The majority of isolates showed resistance to Cd2+ (78.57%) and Pb2+ (51.79%), and fewer were resistant to Cu2+ (37.50%), Zn2+ (25.00%), Co2+ (9.82%), Ni2+ (6.25%), and Mn2+ (4.46%). No isolates were resistant to Cr3+. In total, 22.32% (25 of 112) of strains were multiheavy metal resistant. Furthermore, multidrug resistance and multiheavy metal resistance were found to be positively correlated in the V. parahaemolyticus strains by using Pearson's correlation analysis (P = 0.008; R = 0.925). This information will contribute to the monitoring of variations in the antibiotic and heavy metal resistance profiles of V. parahaemolyticus strains from seafood and provide insight into the appropriate use of antibiotics and the safe consumption of seafood.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolates (112) were identified from 360 Pacific mackerel samples.

  • V. parahaemolyticus isolates were detected with 1.79% (2 of 112) of virulence genes.

  • In total, 46.43% (52 of 112) of isolates were classified as multidrug resistant (MDR).

  • In total, 22.32% (25 of 112) of isolates were multiheavy metal resistant (MHMR).

  • MDR and MHMR were found to be positively correlated.

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