Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol.107, no.2-3, pp.749-768, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.Abstract: Vibrio alginolyticus is a Gram-negative bacterium commonly associated with mackerel poisoning. A bacteriophage that specifically targets and lyses this bacterium could be employed as a biocontrol agent for treating the bacterial infection or improving the shelf-life of mackerel products. However, only a few well-characterized V. alginolyticus phages have been reported in the literature. In this study, a novel lytic phage, named ΦImVa-1, specifically infecting V. alginolyticus strain ATCC 17749, was isolated from Indian mackerel. The phage has a short latent period of 15 min and a burst size of approximately 66 particles per infected bacterium. ΦImVa-1 remained stable for 2 h at a wide temperature (27–75 °C) and within a pH range of 5 to 10. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that ΦImVa-1 has an icosahedral head of approximately 60 nm in diameter with a short tail, resembling those in the Schitoviridae family. High throughput sequencing and bioinformatics analysis elucidated that ΦImVa-1 has a linear dsDNA genome of 77,479 base pairs (bp), with a G + C content of ~ 38.72% and 110 predicted gene coding regions (106 open reading frames and four tRNAs). The genome contains an extremely large virion-associated RNA polymerase gene and two smaller non-virion-associated RNA polymerase genes, which are hallmarks of schitoviruses. No antibiotic genes were found in the ΦImVa-1 genome. This is the first paper describing the biological properties, morphology, and the complete genome of a V. alginolyticus-infecting schitovirus. When raw mackerel fish flesh slices were treated with ΦImVa-1, the pathogen loads reduced significantly, demonstrating the potential of the phage as a biocontrol agent for V. alginolyticus strain ATCC 17749 in the food. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] Key points: • A novel schitovirus infecting Vibrio alginolyticus ATCC 17749 was isolated from Indian mackerel. • The complete genome of the phage was determined, analyzed, and compared with other phages. • The phage is heat stable making it a potential biocontrol agent in extreme environments.