Seafoods in their natural environments are associated with a variety of microorganisms. Fish shelf life reduction results from microbial metabolism, mainly by Gram negative bacteria that produce chemical compounds responsible for bad odour, texture and taste. Shelflife is estimated by performing total viable bacterial counts at ambient and refrigeration temperatures. The type and number of bacteria present on seafood depends on the microbial composition of the surrounding waters, on the intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors, processing, and implicit factors and on the microbial interactions within the fish itself. Although, sea food safety assessment is preferably determined by detecting indicator organisms; such as Enterobacteriaceae and coliforms, none of these groups fulfil all requirements that guarantee food safety necessitating direct detecting of relevant pathogens. Vibrio species are part of the bacteria genera associated with seafoods borne diseases. Prompt and accurate detection and identification methods of pathogens are imperative to determine the product compliance with seafood microbiological criteria. Although cultural methods have long been used in detecting human pathogens including Vibrio species in fish, these methods are time consuming and sometimes inaccurate. Also some pathogens have the propensity to change into the Viable but non culturable (VBNC) state in unfavourable environments. The use of molecular methods is hampered by drawbacks, such as inter species 16S rRNA sequence similarity and that some strains carry multiple copies of the 16S rRNA gene. A combination of classical, numerical taxonomy and Multi locus sequence analysis (MLSA) methods are promising to give absolute resolution between closely related Vibrio species.
Key words: Vibrios spp., seafood, spoilage, pathogens, detection, identification.
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