• R72H polymerase chain reaction;
  • DNA–DNA hybridization;
  • Biochemical identification;
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus;
  • Vibrio alginolyticus


We compared the efficiencies of biochemical methods and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the identification of Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains. The 122 isolates studied, identified by biochemical tests as V. parahaemolyticus or Vibrio alginolyticus, were tested by R72H PCR assay. The results obtained with the two methods were consistent for 90% of the strains studied. PCR amplification of the R72H fragment generated two unique amplicons, 387 bp and 320 bp in length. For 11% of the strains from seawater, the results of biochemical identification did not correlate with PCR results. DNA–DNA hybridization experiments provided evidence that some strains identified as V. alginolyticus in biochemical tests should be considered members of the V. parahaemolyticus species. We therefore suggest that biochemical tests are not accurate enough for the identification of V. parahaemolyticus isolates and we demonstrate that amplification of the R72H fragment, whether the amplicon is 320 bp or 387 bp long, is a powerful tool for the reliable identification of V. parahaemolyticus.