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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Depuration dynamics of viruses in shellfish.

The consumption of shellfish has been associated with viral infections even in cases where shellfish complied with the current regulation, which is based on bacterial analysis. In this study, depuration rates of potential indicators and human viruses have been analysed in order to study the use of complementary parameters for evaluating the microbiological quality of depurated shellfish. Depuration of naturally highly polluted mussels has been evaluated and analyses for Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, somatic coliphages, F-RNA phages and bacteriophages infecting Bacteroides fragilis RYC2056 and HSP40, human adenovirus, enterovirus have been done. Seawater of the depuration tank was disinfected by UV irradiation, ozone and passed through a skimmer and a biological filter. The correct functioning of the depuration tank was monitored by the quantification of total organic carbon (TOC), NH4+ and total aerobic bacteria in the seawater. To study the relation between the bacteriophages and the human viruses analysed, a logistic regression model was applied. F-RNA phages are significantly related to human adenoviruses and enteroviruses. Thus, they can be used as a complementary parameter for evaluating the efficiency of the depuration treatment. Somatic coliphages are also significantly associated with enteroviruses. Bacteriophages infecting B. fragilis HSP40 were analysed by the double-agar-layer (DAL) method, which quantifies infectious viruses, and by nested PCR, which detects the presence of the genome of these phages. The highest sensitivity of the molecular techniques was demonstrated and the results obtained are an indicator of a close relation between positive results by PCR and the presence of infectious viral particles in shellfish. All shellfish samples were negative for human viruses by PCR after 5 days of depuration treatment and the results obtained applying a regression model also showed negative results or nearly for F-RNA phages and bacteriophages infecting B. fragilis RYC2056. Thus, in this specific depuration treatment, 5 days may be necessary to assess the sanitary quality of shellfish.[1]


  1. Depuration dynamics of viruses in shellfish. Muniain-Mujika, I., Girones, R., Tofiño-Quesada, G., Calvo, M., Lucena, F. Int. J. Food Microbiol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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