• acyl-homoserine lactones;
  • AHLs;
  • quorum sensing;
  • Vibrionaceae



The aim of this study was to use a sensitive method to screen and quantify 57 Vibrionaceae strains for the production of acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) and map the resulting AHL profiles onto a host phylogeny.

Methods and Results

We used a high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) protocol to measure AHLs in spent media after bacterial growth. First, the presence/absence of AHLs (qualitative analysis) was measured to choose internal standard for subsequent quantitative AHL measurements. We screened 57 strains from three genera (Aliivibrio, Photobacterium and Vibrio) of the same family (i.e. Vibrionaceae). Our results show that about half of the isolates produced multiple AHLs, typically at 25–5000 nmol l−1.


This work shows that production of AHL quorum sensing signals is found widespread among Vibrionaceae bacteria and that closely related strains typically produce similar AHL profiles.

Significance and Impact of the Study

The AHL detection protocol presented in this study can be applied to a broad range of bacterial samples and may contribute to a wider mapping of AHL production in bacteria, for example, in clinically relevant strains.