Oyster depuration: a re-assessment of depuration conditions and the role of bacterial and viral indicators in determining depuration effectiveness
Kenneth A. Buckle
Principal Investigator: Sandra von Olnhausen, Iona Reid, Graham Fleet, Ken Buckle & Julian Cox
1. To optimize the process of oyster depuration with respect to conditions of: initial load of contamination; water temperature, salinity, turbidity and oxygen content; oyster: water ratio; time of depuration; geographical location of oysters; and oyster eating quality.
2. Based on the findings from objective 1, and in consultation with the NSW Department of Health, NSW Fisheries and representatives of the oyster industry, develop and write modifications to the Code of Practice for the Depuration of Oysters in NSW.
3. In conjunction with the NSW Shellfish Quality Assurance Program, conduct a series of workshops aimed at education of farmers in management of the quality and safety of oysters.
4. Investigate the possibility of using bacteriophages as an additional indicator of oyster safety and the performance of oyster depuration, with specific reference to the elimination of human viruses such as Norwalk and Hepatitis A viruses. Correlate bacteriophage occurrence and behaviour in oysters during purification with traditional E. coli standards and human virus behaviour as measured by an inactivated strain of polio virus.