Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and water samples from Live Holding Tanks at five different Seattle area retail markets were analyzed for microbiological quality indicators and for potential pathogens monthly from March to September, 1987. Aeromonas hydrophilia was the most frequently isolated potential pathogen in this study with a higher incidence in oysters (78%) compared to water (53%). Vibrio cholerae non 01 and V. fluvialis were isolated from oyster samples from two different markets but not from water. V. alginolyticus was isolated from 53% of the water samples but was not found in any of the oysters. One oyster sample had a non-pathogenic Yersinia entercolitica. Yersinia spp. were isolated from oyster samples from one tank at two sampling periods. Salmonella typhimurium was isolated from one oyster sample. Samples were examined for Listeria spp. during the August sampling period and none were detected. The aerobic plate count was similar for both oyster and water samples and averaged 2000 CFU/gm. Total coliform levels were significantly higher (P<.05) for oysters (525MPN/100gm) compared to water (11MPN/100ml). The degree of water turbidity, crowding and species diversity varied between markets and sampling periods.

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Author notes

1U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

2University of Washington.