Use of Diacetyl To Reduce the Load of Vibrio vulnificus in the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica

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Vibrio vulnificus is a highly virulent human pathogen that occurs naturally among the microflora of oysters. This organism has two portals of entry into humans, one of which is ingestion. Oysters containing V. vulnificus consumed in a raw or undercooked state often serve as a vehicle for the transmission of this organism. Previous studies conducted in our laboratory have examined various generally recognized as safe compounds and have determined that diacetyl, a component of butter, is among the most effective of these compounds in reducing loads of V. vulnificus in oysters. The purpose of this study was to further examine the role of diacetyl, along with that of depuration, in reducing loads of V. vulnificus. Shellstock oysters were treated with various concentrations of diacetyl, and we found that many of the oysters ceased pumping when diacetyl was added. The data obtained in this study indicated that treatment with diacetyl is ineffective; however, any reduction in V. vulnificus numbers may be masked when groups of oysters, some of which may not have taken up diacetyl, are sampled. We then investigated the efficacy of diacetyl in lowering levels of V. vulnificus in shucked oysters. Diacetyl was found to significantly reduce the load of V. vulnificus in shucked oysters containing natural populations. Overall, it appears that treatment with diacetyl is ineffective for shellstock oysters, although it has potential for use in reducing loads of V. vulnificus in shucked oysters.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Boulevard, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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