Varying Success of Relaying To Reduce Vibrio parahaemolyticus Levels in Oysters ( Crassostrea virginica).

Academic Article


  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the leading cause of seafood-borne human infections in the United States, and many of these illnesses are associated with consumption of raw molluscan shellfish. V. parahaemolyticus levels in shellfish vary temporally and spatially with environmental conditions in and around production areas. The objective of this study was to study the potential for reducing levels of V. parahaemolyticus in live oysters by relaying them during higher-risk warm weather to a site with elevated salinity and consistently low V. parahaemolyticus levels. The effectiveness of relaying was assessed by analyzing oyster samples collected on days 0, 2, 7, 10, and 14 for V. parahaemolyticus levels using a three-tube most-probable-number enrichment method in conjunction with genetic marker-based quantitative PCR. The salinity at the relay site was always higher than the salinity at the harvest site, with the difference between the two sites ranging from 3.4 to 19.1 ppt (average, 12 ppt) during 2011 to 2014. Oysters relayed during June, July, and August in 2011 and 2012 showed consistently reduced V. parahaemolyticus levels after 14 days, whereas relaying was less successful and V. parahaemolyticus populations changed to include trh-positive strains during 2013. When effective, relay required at least 10 days to reduce V. parahaemolyticus levels. A sample of oysters collected in August 2012, which was temperature abused to increase initial V. parahaemolyticus levels, showed a 4.5-log decrease in V. parahaemolyticus levels after 14 days of relay. These results suggest that relaying oysters to reduce V. parahaemolyticus levels holds promise, but that both microbial community and environmental conditions at relay sites can affect relay success. Further investigation to discover key factors that affect V. parahaemolyticus levels in relayed oysters may aid in developing a consistent approach for reducing V. parahaemolyticus in oysters to eliminate the risk of illness for oyster consumers.
  • Authors

  • Taylor, Michael A
  • Yu, Jong W
  • Howell, Thomas L
  • Jones, Stephen
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 2018
  • Published In


  • Animals
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Crassostrea
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • Ostreidae
  • Oyster microbiome
  • Real-time PCR
  • Salinity
  • Shellfish
  • Shellfish relay
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 29543524
  • Start Page

  • 659
  • End Page

  • 669
  • Volume

  • 81
  • Issue

  • 4