Vibrios isolated from the cultured Manila clam (Ruditapes philippinarum): numerical taxonomy and antibacterial activities.
Aims: A numerical taxonomic study of halophilic Vibrio isolated from healthy and brown ring disease (BRD)-affected Manila clams (R. philippinarum), harvested from the Atlantic coast of southwestern Spain, was performed. Methods and results: Characterization of 123 presumptive Vibrio spp. was carried out using 94 phenotypic tests. Simple matching and Jaccard similarity coefficients were used for numerical analysis. Cluster analysis by the unweighted pair group method with arithmetic averages yielded 15 phena defined at 0.81 similarity. Large phena corresponded to Vibrio tubiashii, V. splendidus biotype I and V. harveyi (phena 1, 5 and 9, respectively). The species V. splendidus biotype II, V. natriegens, V. mediterranei and V. alginolyticus were also represented. The inhibitory effect of diffusible extracellular products of the isolates against 27 strains of V. tapetis, the aetiological agent of BRD, was also investigated. Only five V. tubiashii isolates inhibited the growth of V. tapetis strains. The antimicrobial effect was inhibited by heating and depended on the culture medium. Conclusions: The main Vibrio species associated with Manila clams were V. tubiashii, V. spendidus and V. harveyi. The antagonistic relationship established between V. tapetis and the Vibrio spp. clam microbiota may explain the failure of isolation in plating medium of V. tapetis from BRD-affected clams on the south Atlantic coast of Spain. Significance and impact of the Study: Some of the strains isolated from Manila clams correspond to agarolytic strains that constitute phenon 7 and they do not fit into any of the currently described Vibrio species.