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Appl Environ Microbiol. Jan 1983; 45(1): 275–283.
PMCID: PMC242265

Ecological relationships between Vibrio cholerae and planktonic crustacean copepods.


Strains of Vibrio cholerae, both O1 and non-O1 serovars, were found to attach to the surfaces of live copepods maintained in natural water samples collected from the Chesapeake Bay and Bangladesh environs. The specificity of attachment of V. cholerae to live copepods was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy, which revealed that the oral region and egg sac were the most heavily colonized areas of the copepods. In addition, survival of V. cholerae in water was extended in the presence of live copepods. Attachment of viable V. cholerae cells to copepods killed by exposure to -60 degrees C was not observed. Furthermore, survival of V. cholerae was not as long in the presence of dead copepods as in the live copepod system. A strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus was also seen to attach to copepod surfaces without effect on survival of the organism in water. The attachment of vibrios to copepods was concluded to be significant since strains of other bacteria, including Pseudomonas sp. and Escherichia coli, did not adhere to live or dead copepods. Attachment of V. cholerae to live copepods is suggested to be an important factor of the ecology of this species in the aquatic environment, as well as in the epidemiology of cholera, for which V. cholerae serovar O1 is the causative agent.

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