Preliminary study of transplanting as a process for reducing levels of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in shellstock oysters. Academic Article uri icon


  • Increasingly strict standards for harvest of oysters for the raw, half-shell market (designated as "white tag") should increase the proportion of oysters not meeting these standards (designated as "green tag"). Transplanting of green tag oysters into highsalinity waters (>20 practical salinity units) was explored as a means of returning Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus levels to levels present on initial harvest. In summer 2011, oysters originally harvested in Louisiana were transplanted on two separate occasions (n = 2) to two sites in Mississippi Sound, AL: Sandy Bay and Dauphin Island. Oysters were tested for V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus densities (by using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration enrichment method) after 2, 7, and 14 days deployed, with baseline samples taken (i) at the time of original harvest and iced, (ii) from oysters refrigerated within 1 h of harvest at <45F ([7.2C] white tag) and, (iii) from oysters not refrigerated during the harvest trip (green tag) but refrigerated after an 8-h trip. White and green tag oysters were sampled 24 h on arrival in Bon Secour, AL, put on ice, and shipped for analysis. Among baseline samples, there were no significant differences in V. vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus densities, although the densities in the green tag oysters tended to be highest. After transplanting, V. vulnificus densities were significantly highest on day 2, with no significant differences among any of the other days within a site. On day 2, Sandy Bay had significantly greater densities of V. vulnificus than the Dauphin Island site, but no other days differed from time zero. For Vibrio parahaemolyticus, densities were greatest on day 2 and lowest at time zero, but this did not differ significantly from abundance on day 14. Average survival was 83.4% ( 3.13 SD), with no differences between sites. These preliminary results indicate that high-salinity transplanting could be an effective method of converting green tag oysters to oysters suitable for "reharvest" as white tag oysters.

published proceedings

  • J Food Prot

author list (cited authors)

  • Walton, W. C., Nelson, C., Hochman, M., & Schwarz, J.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Walton, William C||Nelson, Chris||Hochman, Mona||Schwarz, John

publication date

  • January 2013