Thursday 28 October 2021

How harmless bacteria go rogue turning into deadly flesh-eating variants


A new study found that the environmental lifestyle that bacteria possess reveal why some go rogue and turn deadly while others remain harmless to humans. The findings focus on Vibrio vulnificus, better known as the flesh-eating bacteria. However, what the scientists found could help create a model that may well extend to other human pathogens.


Almagro-Moreno, who provides expert opinion to the Food and Drug Administration on flesh-eating bacteria, investigated populations of V. vulnificus in the Indian River Lagoon in East Central Florida because the bacterium is endemic to this region. The aim of the study was to investigate potential genomic and ecological factors that might facilitate the emergence of deadly variants of V. vulnificus.


He and his team collected a variety of samples between 2018 and 2019 from two areas of the lagoon, which stretches more than 150 miles from Volusia to Palm Beach County. They investigated a wide range of factors that included variables like the bacterial communities in the environment, water pollutants, dissolved organic matter or the presence of algal blooms among others. Before sampling, the team developed a novel genetic marker that could rapidly screen the samples on a large scale to detect specifically V. vulnificus and discriminate between strains that can cause disease to humans and those that don't.




Mario López-Pérez, Jane M. Jayakumar, Trudy-Ann Grant, Asier Zaragoza-Solas, Pedro J. Cabello-Yeves, Salvador Almagro-Moreno. Ecological diversification reveals routes of pathogen emergence in endemic Vibrio vulnificus populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (40): e2103470118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2103470118

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources

Special offers