Refrigerated seawater depuration for reducing Vibrio parahaemolyticus contamination in pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas).
ABSTRACT The efficacy of refrigerated-seawater depuration for reducing Vibrio parahaemolyticus levels in Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) was investigated. Raw Pacific oysters were inoculated with a mixed culture of five clinical strains of V. parahaemolyticus (10(5) to 10(6) most probable number [MPN] per g) and depurated with refrigerated seawater (5 degrees C) in a laboratory-scale recirculation system equipped with a 15-W gamma UV sterilizer. Depuration with refrigerated seawater for 96 h reduced V. parahaemolyticus populations by >3.0 log MPN/g in oysters harvested in the winter. However, 144 h of depuration at 5 degrees C was required to achieve a 3-log reduction in oysters harvested in the summer. Depuration with refrigerated seawater at 5 degrees C for up to 144 h caused no significant fatality in the Pacific oyster and could be applied as a postharvest treatment to reduce V. parahaemolyticus contamination in Pacific oysters. Further studies are needed to validate the efficacy of the depuration process for reducing naturally accumulated V. parahaemolyticus in oysters.