TitleSeasonal effects of heat shock on bacterial populations, including artificial Vibrio parahaemolyticus exposure, in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsAagesen, AM, Häse, CC
JournalFood microbiology
Date Published2014 Apr

During the warmer summer months, oysters are conditioned to spawn, resulting in massive physiological efforts for gamete production. Moreover, the higher temperatures during the summer typically result in increased bacteria populations in oysters. We hypothesized that these animals are under multiple stresses that lead to possible immune system impairments during the summer months that can possibly lead to death. Here we show that in the summer and the fall animals exposed to a short heat stress respond similarly, resulting in a general trend of more bacteria being found in heat shocked animals than their non-heat shocked counterparts. We also show that naturally occurring bacterial populations are effected by a heat shock. In addition, oysters artificially contaminated with Vibrio parahaemolyticus were also affected by a heat shock. Heat shocked animals contained higher concentrations of V. parahaemolyticus in their tissues and hemolymph than control animals and this was consistent for animals examined during summer and fall. Finally, oyster hemocyte interactions with V. parahaemolyticus differed based on the time of the year. Overall, these findings demonstrate that seasonal changes and/or a short heat shock is sufficient to impact bacterial retention, particularly V. parahaemolyticus, in oysters and this line of research might lead to important considerations for animal harvesting procedures.