The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is carrying out research on the characterisation and discrimination of pathogenic Vibrio spp. strains and environmental strains by genetic analysis, protein chemical studies, immunological techniques and transcriptional studies. Environmental, food and clinical strains of Vibrio spp. from Germany are compared with clinical strains obtained from other parts of the world for toxin types and virulence factors. The objectives of our research is to achieve a complex evaluation of the human health risk associated with Vibrio spp. found in the Germany.
The Vibrio research is carried out in the National Reference Laboratory for monitoring bacteriological contamination of bivalve molluscs. For this reason the lab is also actively taking part in developing diagnostic techniques which are intended to be used for the control of vibrios in seafood. A main focus is the establishment of MALDI-TOF MS (Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry) for the quick diagnostic of vibrios.
Ongoing research projects are:
- Characterization of TRH toxins present in Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains isolated in German coastal waters
- Genotypic and phenotypic comparison of Vibrio vulnificus strains from the Baltic Sea and North Sea
- Analysis of virulence factors of clinical isolates Vibrio cholerae non-O1, non O-139
- Contribution of bacteriophages present in Vibrio strains found in German coastal waters to the emergence of virulent strains by driving niche adaptation and expansion through gene exchange