R-20-05 Rapid detection of Vibrio of oyster management

Laurie Connell
University of Maine

Christopher Davis
Maine Aquaculture Institute

Meredith White
Mook Sea Farm

Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp), a bacterial pathogen found in brackish and marine environments, can cause illness in humans when it is present in raw, consumed oysters. Vp and other Vibrio pathogen species are becoming more abundant in warming waters, and current methods for detection, including culture analyses, multiplex PCR, DNA arrays, and RT-PCR, are time consuming and require extensive sample preparation.

The goal of this project is to create a portable and affordable point-of-use system for oyster growers and harvesters to detect levels of Vp in oysters prior to shipment. The Connell Lab has developed a prototype InstaProbe™ tool custom made for the rapid detection of microbes in oysters. For this project, researchers will work with Mook Sea Farm to test filtering procedures, optimize on-site sample preparation time, and determine the sensitivity and specificity of the tool at a farm, compared to lab results. Workshops and presentations will be held to demonstrate the tool and share results, and a website will be created to provide information on the project.

One-year project: 2021
Sea Grant funds: $118,632