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Effect of Frozen Storage and Vacuum-Packaging on Survival of Vibrio Vulnificus in Gulf Coast Oysters (Crassostrea virginica)

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Vibrio vulnificus contamination of raw oysters is a serious public health hazard, therefore, it is necessary to investigate the persistence of V. vulnificus in harvested and stored oysters. For this study, triplicate oyster samples were split into four treatment groups: control, normal-packaged; control, vacuum-packaged; inoculated, normal-packaged; and inoculated, vacuum-packaged. Oysters in the inoculated groups were individually injected with V. vulnificus to a level of approximately 1 × 106 CFU/g. Control oysters were already naturally contaminated to a level of approximately 1 × 104 CFU/g. Oysters were then packaged, frozen and stored at −20°C. On day 0 and days 7, 14, 30 and 70 post-freezing, concentrations of total aerobic bacteria and V. vulnificus were determined using a 3-tube most probable number (MPN) estimation from enrichment Alkaline Peptone Water tubes with subsequent presumptive V. vulnificus growth on modified Cellobiose-Polymyxin B-Colistin agar. Length of frozen storage had a significant effect on decreasing total aerobic bacteria (from approximately 106 CFU/g to approximately 102.5 CFU/g) and V. vulnificus (from approximately 105 CFU/g to approximately 101 CFU/g). Also, vacuum-packaged samples showed significantly lower concentrations of V. vulnificus over the length of the study than did the normal-sealed samples.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4467 2: Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-4458

Publication date: July 1, 1994

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