Reducing acute mortality in aquatic crustaceans using natural alternatives to antibiotics has become a necessity, firstly for its positive impact on the aquaculture industry and, secondly, because the extensive use of antibiotics may lead to increased levels of drug resistance in pathogenic microorganisms. This study aimed to investigate the effect of a mixture of natural antimicrobials on the in vitro and in vivo virulence abilities of Type VI secretion system (T6SS)-positive Vibrio parahaemolyticus (A3 and D4), strains known as having potentially harmful health consequences for aquatic crustaceans and consumers. Herein, we report that a natural antimicrobial mixture (A3009) was capable of significantly reducing the virulence of V. parahaemolyticus strains A3 and D4 in an in vitro infection model, using the fish cell line CHSE-214, an effect which correlates with the bacterial downregulation of hcp1 and hcp2 gene expression and with the ability of the antimicrobial to efficiently retain low cytotoxic levels (p < 0.001). We show for the first time that a natural antimicrobial is able to significantly reduce the mortality of shrimps in a challenge experiment and is able to significantly attenuate H2O2 release during infection (p < 0.001), indicating that it could harbor positive intestinal redox balance effects.
Keywords: Vibrio parahaemolyticus; natural antimicrobials; virulence.