Viral Depuration of the Northern Quahaug1


A study was conducted to evaluate critically the feasibility of using the self-cleansing mechanism as a practical means to obtain virus-free shellfish. Two systems supplied with fresh running seawater, three strains of human enterovirus and the Northern quahaug, were used as working models. Preliminary experiments in the experimental system under arbitrarily selected conditions showed that depuration of poliovirus-polluted quahaugs could be achieved by the method used for the Eastern oyster. The factors affecting viral depuration studied so far included: (i) initial concentration of shellfish pollution; (ii) temperature of seawater; and (iii) salinity of seawater. It was shown that purification of the lightly polluted shellfish was achieved sooner than of the heavily polluted ones. The efficiency of viral depuration was roughly a function of the water temperature within the range tested (5 to 20 C). Reduction of salinity to 50 to 60% of the original level stopped this process completely, but 25% reduction in salinity did not affect significantly the rate of depuration. Preliminary study in the pilot system showed that viral depuration in the large tank appeared to be equally as efficient as that in the small experimental tanks under the particular conditions.

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