Small but MIGHTY
Food Safety and Security for All
Our small, but highly collaborative lab is located at the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center. We are focused on infectious diseases and immunology of commercially important aquatic species and functional, fishmeal-free aquadiets. We also study the effects of climate change on a number of key species in our coastal waters to find sustainable ways for marine resource management - therefore, stakeholder collaborations and input is highly valuable to us. Our findings have been published in numerous publications. Learn more about our research and the team on the following pages.
Our academic home is the Biomedical Sciences Department of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.
Various news from our lab and its members
PROBIOTIC-INDUCED DISEASE RESISTANCE OF PACIFIC OYSTER (Crassostrea gigas) LARVAE
December 1, 2021
On the West coast of North America, Pacific oyster larvae often face severe mass mortality events caused by the bacterial shellfish pathogen Vibrio coralliilyticus (Vcor). We are studying the efficacy of four probiotic bacteria to increase the survival of oyster larvae when infected with Vcor. Each probiotic strain was chosen due to its ability to inhibit the growth of Vcor on an agar plate or improve the survival of infected larvae. Individually, the probiotics displayed variable effects on survival, but when used in combination, the survival of infected larvae significantly improved. The probiotic cocktail has also improved the overall robustness of larvae and increased settlement rates. (Video taken by C. Schubiger: Healthy oyster larvae)
PILOT-SCALE OYSTER DEPURATION
January 1, 2021
Oysters are often consumed raw or undercooked; however, they are known to harbor Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a foodborne bacterial pathogen that causes gastrointestinal illness. Shellfish producers have proposed using depuration systems to support the oyster’s natural biological ability to purge bacteria and sand. Depuration systems are sophisticated holding tanks with chilled, sterile seawater and UV sterilizers built into the recirculation flow. We are currently working with one of the largest U.S. oyster farms to help get their depuration facility validated.
For this approach to be suitable for industrial use, the efficacy of depuration must be validated in relevant species and at commercial scale using appropriate conditions (time, temperature). Validation of a new process requires several stages to verify assumptions and demonstrate method performance.
In this project, we compared the efficacy of depuration in three popular oyster species (Crassostrea gigas - Pacific, C. sikamea - Kumamoto, C. virginica - Eastern), demonstrated the suitability of non-pathogenic V. parahaemolyticus as a surrogate, and optimized depuration conditions at pilot-scale to identify process variables likely to achieve >3.0-log reduction of V. parahaemolyticus.