Spatio-temporal Variations in Bacterial Abundance with an Emphasis on Fecal Indicator Bacteria and Vibrio spp. in and around Visakhapatnam Port, East Coast of India


Bacterial abundance
Ballast water
Escherichia coli
Streptococcus faecalis
Vibrio cholerae


The ecological health of port environments, which are dynamic and hotspots of anthropogenic activities, can be analyzed using specific pathogenic bacteria as they provide definite evidence and source of pollution. The influence of seasons and environmental settings on total bacterial count (TBC), distribution of fecal indicators, and Vibrio spp. was explored in Visakhapatnam port, located along the east coast of India. South-west monsoon had a significant influence on TBC, fecal indicators, and Vibrio spp., and the abundance was influenced by the eutrophic environment in the inner harbour. Fecal indicators were one order higher in sub-surface water when compared with sediment, indicating their inoculation due to turbulent conditions in south-west monsoon. The abundance of V. cholerae was influenced by salinity, temperature, and SPM, and was positively correlated to plankton; relating their distribution with disease dynamics and ecosystem functioning is a step ahead. Such an assessment is important from the perspective of human health and marine bioinvasion.


Alam M, Sultana M, Balakrish Nair G, Siddique AK, Hasan NA, Bradley Sack R, Sack DA, Ahmed KU, Sadique A, Watanabe H, Grim CJ, Huq A, Colwell RR. 2007. Viable but nonculturable Vibrio cholerae O1 in biofilms in the aquatic environment and their role in cholera transmission. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA. 104(45):17801–17806. doi:10.1073/pnas.0705599104.

Azam F, Fenchel T, JG F, Gray J, Meyer-Reil L, Thingstad F. 1983. The ecological role of water-column microbes in the sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 10:257–263. doi:10.3354/meps010257.

Clark A, Turner T, Dorothy KP, Goutham J, Kalavati C, Rajanna B. 2003. Health hazards due to pollution of waters along the coast of Visakhapatnam, east coast of India. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 56(3):390–397. doi:10.1016/S0147-6513(03)00098-8.

Colwell RR. 1996. Global climate and infectious disease: the cholera paradigm. Science. 274(5295):2025–2031. doi:10.1126/science.274.5295.2025.

Daley RJ, Hobbie JE. 1975. Direct counts of aquatic bacteria by a modified epifluorescence technique. Limnol Oceanogr. 20(5):875–882. doi:

Desai DV, Narale D, Khandeparker L, Anil AC. 2018. Potential ballast water transfer of organisms from the west to the east coast of India: insights through on board sampling. J Sea Res. 133:88–99. doi:10.1016/j.seares.2017.03.010.

Drake LA, Doblin MA, Dobbs FC. 2007. Potential microbial bioinvasions via ships’ ballast water, sediment, and biofilm. Mar Pollut Bull. 55(7-9):333–341. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2006.11.007.

D’Silva MS, Anil AC, Sawant SS. 2013. Dinoflagellate cyst assemblages in recent sediments of Visakhapatnam harbour, east coast of India: influence of environmental characteristics. Mar Pollut Bull. 66(1-2):59–72. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.11.012.

Findlay RH, Trexler MB, Guckerte JB, White DC. 1990. Laboratory study of disturbance in marine sediments: response of a microbial community. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 62:121–133. doi:10.3354/meps062121.

Finkelstein RA. 1996. Cholera, Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139, and other pathogenic vibrios. In: Baron S, editor. Medical microbiology. 4th edition. Galveston: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Fries JS, Characklis GW, Noble RT. 2006. Attachment of fecal indicator bacteria to particles in the Neuse River Estuary, N.C. J Environ Eng. 132(10):1338–1345. doi:10.1061/(asce)0733-9372(2006)132:10(1338).

Gardade L, Khandeparker L. 2017. Spatio-temporal variations in pathogenic bacteria in the surface sediments of the Zuari estuary, Goa, India. Curr Sci. 113(9):1729–1738. doi:10.18520/cs/v113/i09/1729-1738.

Halpern BS, Walbridge S, Selkoe KA, Kappel CV, Micheli F, D’Agrosa C, Bruno JF, Casey KS, Ebert C, Fox HE, Fujita R, Heinemann D, Lenihan HS, Madin EM, Perry MT, Selig ER, Spalding M, Steneck R, Watson R. 2008. A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science. 319(5865):948–952. doi:10.1126/science.1149345.

Harji RR, Bhosle NB, Garg A, Sawant SS, Venkat K. 2010. Sources of organic matter and microbial community structure in the sediments of the Visakhapatnam harbour, east coast of India. Chem Geol. 276(3-4):309–317. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2010.06.015.

Hassard F, Gwyther CL, Farkas K, Andrews A, Jones V, Cox B, Brett H, Jones DL, McDonald JE, Malham SK. 2016. Abundance and distribution of enteric bacteria and viruses in coastal and estuarine sediments - a review. Front Microbiol. 7(NOV):1692. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01692.

Je JG, Belan T, Levings C, Koo BJ. 2004. Changes in benthic communities along a presumed pollution gradient in Vancouver Harbour. Mar Environ Res. 57(1-2):121–135. doi:10.1016/S0141-1136(03 ) 00064-3.

Kadam A, Bhangale V. 1993. Petroleum hydrocarbons in northwest coastal waters of India. Indian J Mar Sci. 22(3):227–228.

Kanungo S, Sah BK, Lopez AL, Sung JS, Paisley AM, Sur D, Clemens JD, Balakrish Nair G. 2010. Cholera in India: an analysis of reports, 1997-2006. Bull World Health Organ. 88(3):185–191. doi:10.2471/BLT.09.073460.

Khandeparker L, Anil AC. 2013. Association of bacteria with marine invertebrates: implications for ballast water management. EcoHealth. 10(3):268–276. doi:10.1007/s10393-013-0857-z.

Khandeparker L, Anil AC, Naik SD, Gaonkar CC. 2015. Daily variations in pathogenic bacterial populations in a monsoon influenced tropical environment. Mar Pollut Bull. 96(1-2):337–343. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.04.051.

Khandeparker L, D’Costa PM, Anil AC, Sawant SS. 2014. Interactions of bacteria with diatoms: influence on natural marine biofilms. Mar Ecol. 35(2):233–248. doi:10.1111/maec.12077.

Khandeparker L, Desai DV, Anil AC, Sawant SS, Venkat K, Mapari K, Jolkifli Z, Abd Karim N, Thoha H, Hadiyanto H, Dalasane S, Chounlamountry K, Khaing MM, Dungca JC, Azanza R, Lim CS, Tan KS, Kajonwattanakul S, Phuttapreecha R, Le HM. 2018. Application of fluorescence in situ hybridization-flow cytometry (FISH-FCM) technique to detect and quantify Vibrio cholerae population from different geographic regions. ASEAN J Sci Technol Dev. 35(1-2):159–165. doi:10.29037/ajstd.495.

Khandeparker L, Eswaran R, Gardade L, Kuchi N, Mapari K, Naik SD, Anil AC. 2017a. Elucidation of the tidal influence on bacterial populations in a monsoon influenced estuary through simultaneous observations. Environ Monit Assess. 189(1):1–17. doi:10.1007/s10661-016-5687-3.

Khandeparker L, Kuchi N, Kale D, Anil AC. 2017b. Microbial community structure of surface sediments from a tropical estuarine environment using next generation sequencing. Ecol Indic. 74:172–181. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.11.023.

Lara RJ, Neogi SB, Islam MS, Mahmud ZH, Islam S, Paul D, Demoz BB, Yamasaki S, Nair GB, Kattner G. 2011. Vibrio cholerae in waters of the Sunderban mangrove: relationship with biogeochemical parameters and chitin in seston size fractions. Wetlands Ecol Manage. 19(1):109–119. doi:10.1007/s11273-010-9204-0.

Li J, Wang H, Liu Y, Lin M, Liu X, Hu X. 2014. Distribution and diversity of coliform bacteria in estuary of Jiahe River, China. Int J Environ Res. 8:501–508. doi:10.22059/ijer.2014.743.

Mahoney JC, Gerding MJ, Jones SH, Whistler CA. 2010. Comparison of the pathogenic potentials of environmental and clinical Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains indicates a role for temperature regulation in virulence. Appl Environ Microbiol. 76(22):7459–7465. doi:10.1128/AEM.01450-10.

Mookerjee S, Jaiswal A, Batabyal P, Einsporn MH, Lara RJ, Sarkar B, Neogi SB, Palit A. 2014. Seasonal dynamics of Vibrio cholerae and its phages in riverine ecosystem of Gangetic West Bengal: cholera paradigm. Environ Monit Assess. 186(10):6241–6250. doi:10.1007/s10661-014-3851-1.

Musale AS, Desai DV, Sawant SS, Venkat K, Anil AC. 2015. Distribution and abundance of benthic macroorganisms in and around Visakhapatnam Harbour on the east coast of India. J Mar Biol Assoc U K. 95(2):215–231. doi:10.1017/S0025315414001490.

Neogi SB, Islam MS, Nair GB, Yamasaki S, Lara RJ. 2012. Occurrence and distribution of plankton-associated and free-living toxigenic Vibrio cholerae in a tropical estuary of a cholera endemic zone. Wetlands Ecol Manage. 20(3):271–285. doi:10.1007/s11273-012-9247-5.

Neogi SB, Yamasaki S, Alam M, Lara RJ. 2014. The role of wetland microinvertebrates in spreading human diseases. Wetlands Ecol Manage. 22(5):469–491. doi:10.1007/s11273-014-9373-3.

Pandey PK, Kass PH, Soupir ML, Biswas S, Singh VP. 2014. Analysis and application of Bacillus subtilis sortases to anchor recombinant proteins on the cell wall. AMB Expr. 4(51):1–16. doi:10.1186/s13568-014-0051-x.

Parsons T, Maita Y, Lalli CM. 1984. A manual of chemical and biological seawater analysis. New York: Pergamon.

Pfeffer C, Oliver JD. 2003. A comparison of thiosulphate?citrate?bile salts?sucrose (TCBS) agar and thiosulphate?chloride?iodide (TCI) agar for the isolation of Vibrio species from estuarine environments. Lett Appl Microbiol. 36:150–151.

Pramanik A, Basak P, Banerjee S, Sengupta S, Chattopadhyay D, Bhattacharyya M. 2016. Metagenomic exploration of the bacterial community structure at Paradip Port, Odisha, India. Genomics Data. 7:94–96. doi:10.1016/j.gdata.2015.12.005.

Prasad VR, Srinivas TN, Sarma VV. 2015. Influence of river discharge on abundance and dissemination of heterotrophic, indicator and pathogenic bacteria along the east coast of India. Mar Pollut Bull. 95(1):115–125. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.04.032.

Raman AV. 1995. Pollution effects in Visakhapatnam harbour, India: an overview of 23 years of investigations and monitoring. Helgol Meeresunters. 49(1-4):633–645. doi:10.1007/BF02368388.

Rathod V, Bhat K, Sudhakar U, Sarma V, Parulekar A. 1995. Pollution impact on chaetognaths of the Visakhapatnam Harbour and neritic waters, east coast of India. J Mar Biol Assoc India. 37(1 & 2):185–190.

Sack RB, Siddique AK, Longini IM, Nizam A, Yunus M, Islam MS, Morris JG, Ali A, Huq A, Nair GB, Qadri F, Faruque SM, Sack DA, Colwell RR. 2003. A 4-year study of the epidemiology of Vibrio cholerae in four rural areas of Bangladesh. J Infect Dis. 187(1):96–101. doi:10.1086/345865.

Solo-Gabriele HM, Wolfert MA, Desmarais TR, Palmer CJ. 2000. Sources of Escherichia coli in a coastal subtropical environment. Appl Environ Microbiol. 66(1):230–237. doi:10.1128/AEM.66.1.230-237.2000.

ter Braak CJF, Smilauer P. 1998. CANOCO reference manual and user’s guide to Canoco for Windows: software for canonical community ordination (version 4). Ithaca: Microcomputer Power.

Thompson FL, Iida T, Swings J. 2004. Biodiversity of Vibrios. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 68(3):403–431. doi:10.1128/mmbr.68.3.403-431.2004.

Tripathy S, Kusuma Kumari B, Sarma V, Murty T. 2005. Evaluation of trophic state and plankton abundance from the environmental parameters of Visakhapatnam Harbour and near-shore waters, east coast of India. Asian J Microbiol Biotech Env Sci. 7:831–838.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2020 The Author(s)


Download data is not yet available.