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Breakthrough in Understanding Seafood 'Tummy Bug' - Dormant Bacteria


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Breakthrough in understanding 'tummy bug' bacteria - Scientists have discovered how bacteria commonly responsible for seafood-related stomach upsets can go dormant and then "wake up".

Bacterial dormancy: A subpopulation of viable but non-culturable cells demonstrates better fitness for revival

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a marine bacterium that can cause gastroenteritis in humans when eaten in raw or undercooked shellfish such as oysters and mussels.
Some bacteria can turn dormant in cold temperatures and remain in hibernation for long periods before resuscitating. When these dormant bacteria are revived, they are just as virulent and able to cause disease.

The findings have implications for seafood safety, as dormant cells are not detectable using routine microbiological screening tests so the true bacterial load could be underestimated.

The findings suggest that the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase is key in both bacterial dormancy and resuscitation (breaking down lactic acid into pyruvate).

It is important to note that thorough cooking kills bacteria in seafood.