Polyphasic approach to the characterisation of marine luminous bacteria

Daniela Caccamo, Francescopaolo Di Cello, Renato Fani, Concetta Gugliandolo, Teresa Luciana Maugeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifteen luminous bacterial strains were isolated from the Tyrrhenian Sea coastal waters off northeastern Sicily and characterised by a combination of phenotypic and molecular tests in order to identify them and to determine their intraspecific genetic variability. Five luminous type strains, Vibrio splendidus NCIMB 1, V. harveyi NCIMB 1280, V. fischen NCIMB 1281, V. orientais NCIMB 2195 and Photobacterium leiognathi NCIMB 2193, were used as reference. On the basis of their phenotypic characters, the isolates were assigned to the family Vibrionaceae and all were related to the V. harveyi reference strain. Amplified 16S ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) enabled the strains to be subdivided into three groups, two of which exhibited the same restriction pattern as the two reference strains, V. harveyi and V. splendidus. Comparison of the full 16S rDNA sequence and of a 100-bp highly variable 16S rDNA region (selected as a 'signature' sequence for the luminous bacteria) confirmed ARDRA data and suggested that the strains of the third group could be considered a subspecies of V. harveyi or a tyrrhenian biovar, different from the other reference strains whose 16S rDNAs have already been sequenced. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) fingerprinting and analysis of plasmid content suggested a high degree of intraspecific genetic variability within the largest ARDRA group. Data obtained suggest that the ARDRA method and the sequencing of the 16S rDNA signature region could be a powerful tool for a rapid identification of marine luminous bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999


  • 16S rDNA
  • Luminescence
  • Marine bacteria
  • RAPD
  • Sequencing
  • Vibrionaceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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