Depuration and Relaying: A Review on Potential Removal of Norovirus from Oysters

Type Article
Date 2017-07
Language English
Author(s) McLeod Catherine1, Polo David2, Le Saux Jean-Claude2, Le Guyader Soizick2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Seafood Safety Assessment Ltd, Hillcrest, Isle Skye IV44 8RG, Scotland.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Microbiol, LSEM SG2M, F-44300 Nantes, France.
Source Comprehensive Reviews In Food Science And Food Safety (1541-4337) (Wiley), 2017-07 , Vol. 16 , N. 4 , P. 692-706
DOI 10.1111/1541-4337.12271
WOS© Times Cited 38
Keyword(s) depuration, norovirus, oysters, purification, relaying

Pollution of coastal waters can result in contamination of bivalve shellfish with human enteric viruses, including norovirus (NoV), and oysters are commonly implicated in outbreaks. Depuration is a postharvest treatment involving placement of shellfish in tanks of clean seawater to reduce contaminant levels; this review focuses on the efficacy of depuration in reducing NoV in oysters. There have been many NoV outbreaks from depurated oysters containing around 10(3) genome copies/g oyster tissue, far exceeding the median infectious dose (ID50). Half of the published NoV reduction experiments showed no decrease in NoV during depuration, and in the remaining studies it took between 9 and 45.5 d for a 1-log reduction-significantly longer than commercial depuration time frames. Surrogate viruses are more rapidly depurated than NoV; the mean number of days to reduce NoV by 1 log is 19, and 7.5 d for surrogates. Thus, surrogates do not appear to be suitable for assessing virological safety of depurated oysters; data on reduction of NoV infectivity during depuration would assist evaluations on surrogate viruses and the impact of methods used. The longer persistence of NoV highlights its special relationship with oysters, which involves the binding of NoV to histo-blood group-like ligands in various tissues. Given the persistence of NoV and on-going outbreaks, depuration as currently performed appears ineffective in guaranteeing virologically safe oysters. Conversely, relaying oysters for 4 wk is more successful, with low NoV concentrations and no illnesses associated with products. The ineffectiveness of depuration emphasizes the need for coastal water quality to be improved to ensure oysters are safe to eat.

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