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To achieve high-level expression and secretion of active VP28 directed by a processing-efficient signal peptide in Bacillus subtilis WB600 and exploit the possibility of obtaining an oral vaccine against white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) using vegetative cells or spores as delivery vehicles.The polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified vp28 gene was inserted into a shuttle expression vector with a novel signal peptide sequence. After electro-transformation, time-courses for recombinant VP28 (rVP28) secretion level in B. subtilis WB600 were analysed. Crayfish were divided into three groups subsequently challenged by 7-h immersion at different time points after vaccination. Subgroups including 20 inter-moult crayfish with an average weight of 15 g in triplicate were vaccinated by feeding coated food pellets with vegetative cells or spores for 20 days. Vaccination trials showed that rVP28 by spore delivery induced a higher resistance than using vegetative cells. Challenged at 14 days postvaccination, the relative per cent survival (RPS) values of groups of rVP28-bv and rVP28-bs was 51·7% and 78·3%, respectively.The recombinant B. subtilis strain with the ability of high-level secretion of rVP28 can evoke protection of crayfish against WSSV by oral delivery.Oral vaccination by the B. subtilis vehicle containing VP28 opens a new way for designing practical vaccines to control WSSV.