This study examined the variability in the levels of total and pathogenic Vibrio parahaemolyticus in individual oysters. Twenty oysters were collected on three occasions (in June, July, and September
2001) from a site near Mobile Bay, Ala. Ten of these oysters were tested immediately, and 10 were tested after 24 h of storage at 26°C. Levels of total and pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus were
determined by alkaline phosphatase-labeled DNA probe procedures targeting the thermolabile hemolysin and thermostable direct hemolysin genes, respectively. Similar V. parahaemolyticus levels (200
to 2,000 CFU/g) were found in nearly 90% of the oysters (for all sampling occasions) prior to storage. The log-transformed densities (means ± standard deviations) of V. parahaemolyticus in
oysters immediately after harvest were 2.90 ± 0.91, 2.88 ± 0.36, and 2.47 ± 0.26 log10 CFU/g for June, July, and September, respectively. After storage for 24 h at 26°C,
the mean V. parahaemolyticus densities increased approximately 13- to 26-fold. Before storage, pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus was detected in 40% (10 to 20 CFU/g) of the oysters collected in June
and July but was not detected in any oysters collected in September. After storage, pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus was detected in some oysters at levels of >100 CFU/g. These data should aid in
the development of sampling protocols for oyster monitoring programs and in the determination of exposure distributions associated with raw oyster consumption.
Document Type: Miscellaneous
Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1170 2:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Division of Mathematics, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740-3835 3:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Gulf Coast Seafood Lab, P.O. Box 158, Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528-0158, USA
Publication date: January 1, 2003
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