Can shellfish be used to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in the coastal environment?

Type Article
Date 2021-07
Language English
Author(s) Desdouits MarionORCID1, Piquet Jean-ComeORCID1, Wacrenier Candice1, Le Mennec Cecile1, Parnaudeau Sylvain1, Jousse Sarah1, Rocq Sophie1, Bigault Lionel2, Contrant Maud2, Garry PascalORCID1, Chavanon Fabienne3, Gabellec Raoul4, Lamort Laure5, Lebrun LucORCID6, Le Gall PatrikORCID7, Meteigner ClaireORCID11, Schmitt Anne4, Seugnet Jean-Luc8, Serais OphelieORCID9, Peltier Cécile10, Bressolette-Bodin Céline10, Blanchard Yannick2, Le Guyader Soizick1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, laboratoire de Microbiologie, SG2M/LSEM, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes, France
2 : ANSES, Génétique Virale et Biosécurité, Ploufragan, France
3 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Provence-Azur-Corse, la Seyne sur Mer, France
4 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Morbihan Pays de la Loire, Lorient, France
5 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Normandie, Port en Bessin, France
6 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Bretagne Occidentale, Concarneau, France
7 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Bretagne Nord, Dinard, France
8 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Pertuis-Charentais, la Tremblade, France
9 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Languedoc Roussillon, Sète, France
10 : Nantes Université, Centre de Recherche en Transplantation et Immunologie, UMR 1064, ITUN, 44000 Nantes, France
11 : Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressource Arcachon, Arcachon, France
Source Science Of The Total Environment (0048-9697) (Elsevier BV), 2021-07 , Vol. 778 , P. 146270 (11p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146270
WOS© Times Cited 22
Keyword(s) SARS-CoV-2, Coastal environment, Seawater, Shellfish, Detection method, Genomic detection

The emergence and worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2 raises new concerns and challenges regarding possible environmental contamination by this virus through spillover of human sewage, where it has been detected. The coastal environment, under increasing anthropogenic pressure, is subjected to contamination by a large number of human viruses from sewage, most of them being non-enveloped viruses like norovirus. When reaching coastal waters, they can be bio-accumulated by filter-feeding shellfish species such as oysters. Methods to detect this viral contamination were set up for the detection of non-enveloped enteric viruses, and may need optimization to accommodate enveloped viruses like coronaviruses (CoV).

Here, we aimed at assessing methods for the detection of CoV, including SARS-CoV-2, in the coastal environment and testing the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 can contaminate oysters, to monitor the contamination of French shores by SARS-CoV-2 using both seawater and shellfish.

Using the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), a CoV, as surrogate for SARS-CoV-2, and Tulane virus, as surrogate for non-enveloped viruses such as norovirus, we assessed and selected methods to detect CoV in seawater and shellfish. Seawater-based methods showed variable and low yields for PEDV. In shellfish, the current norm for norovirus detection was applicable to CoV detection. Both PEDV and heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 could contaminate oysters in laboratory settings, with a lower efficiency than a calicivirus used as control. Finally, we applied our methods to seawater and shellfish samples collected from April to August 2020 in France, where we could detect the presence of human norovirus, a marker of human fecal contamination, but not SARS-CoV-2.

Together, our results validate methods for the detection of CoV in the coastal environment, including the use of shellfish as sentinels of the microbial quality of their environment, and suggest that SARS-CoV-2 did not contaminate the French shores during the summer season.

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Desdouits Marion, Piquet Jean-Come, Wacrenier Candice, Le Mennec Cecile, Parnaudeau Sylvain, Jousse Sarah, Rocq Sophie, Bigault Lionel, Contrant Maud, Garry Pascal, Chavanon Fabienne, Gabellec Raoul, Lamort Laure, Lebrun Luc, Le Gall Patrik, Meteigner Claire, Schmitt Anne, Seugnet Jean-Luc, Serais Ophelie, Peltier Cécile, Bressolette-Bodin Céline, Blanchard Yannick, Le Guyader Soizick (2021). Can shellfish be used to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in the coastal environment? Science Of The Total Environment, 778, 146270 (11p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :