Enhanced recovery of Arcobacter spp. using NaCl in culture media and re-assessment of the traits of Arcobacter marinus and Arcobacter halophilus isolated from marine water and shellfish

Sci Total Environ. 2016 Oct 1;566-567:1355-1361. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.197. Epub 2016 Jun 6.


The genus Arcobacter is a relatively poorly known group of bacteria, and the number of new species and sequences from non-culturable strains has increased considerably in recent years. This study investigates whether using media that contain NaCl might help to improve the recovery of Arcobacter spp. from marine environments. To this aim, 62 water and shellfish samples were analysed in parallel, with both a commonly used culture method (enrichment in Arcobacter-CAT broth followed by culture on Blood Agar) and a new one that supplements the Arcobacter-CAT enrichment broth with 2.5% NaCl (w/v) followed by culturing on Marine Agar. The new method yielded ca. 40% more positive samples and provided a higher diversity of known (11 vs. 7) and unknown (7 vs. 2) Arcobacter species. Among the 11 known species recovered, Arcobacter marinus and Arcobacter halophilus were isolated only by this new method. No more strains of these species have been isolated since their original descriptions, both of which were based only on a single strain. In view of that, the phenotypic characteristics of these species are re-evaluated in the present study, using the new strains. Strains of A. halophilus had the same phenotypic profile as the type strain. However, some strains of A. marinus differed from the type strain in that they did not hydrolyse indoxyl-acetate, becoming, therefore, the first Arcobacter species to show a varying ability to hydrolyse indoxyl-acetate. This study shows to what extent a simple variation to the culture media can have a big influence on positive samples and on the community of species recovered.

Keywords: Arcobacter; Diversity; Marine water; New species; Shellfish; Sodium chloride.

MeSH terms

  • Arcobacter / classification
  • Arcobacter / genetics
  • Arcobacter / isolation & purification*
  • Culture Media*
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis
  • Food Microbiology / methods*
  • Phenotype*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / analysis
  • Seawater / microbiology*
  • Shellfish / microbiology*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry


  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sodium Chloride