Genetic differences in clinical and environmental strains of Vibrio parahaemolyticus have been widely used as criteria in identifying pathogenic isolates. However, few studies have been carried out to assess the differences in biochemical characteristics of V. parahaemolyticus isolates from human and environmental sources. We compared the biochemical profiles obtained by the characterization of V. parahaemolyticus isolates from human infections and the marine environment using the API 20E system. Environmental and clinical isolates showed significant differences in the gelatin and arabinose tests. Additionally, clinical isolates were correctly identified according to the API 20E profile using 0.85% NaCl diluent, but they presented nonspecific profiles with 2% NaCl diluent. In contrast, use of 2% NaCl diluent facilitated correct identification of the environmental isolates. Clinical isolates showed significant differences in up to five biochemical tests with respect to the API 20E database. The API 20E system is widely used in routine identification of bacteria in clinical laboratories, and this discrepancy in an important number of biochemical tests may lead to misidentification of V. parahaemolyticus infection.