Introduction to the species:
Shell length of Pacific oyster is normally 10-15 cm, but as long as 38 cm (15’) can. In nature it can be found on hard rocky surfaces in water, normally up to 40 meters deep, but also in sandy areas. Originally from Japan, now Pacific Oysters are the biggest farmed and commercially important oyster: it accounts for 98% of the world’s cultured oyster production, and are produced in countries all over the world.
Depending on environmental conditions, resources and market, different methods are used in the production of Pacific oysters: seed supply, broodstock, larval and postlarval culture, nurseries. Their sex can change from one year to other, depending on the environmental conditions, and there are hermaphrodite oysters as well. Currently the most prominent issue related to their productions is disease management.
- France is the main European producer of oysters, responsible for 86% of total EU oyster production (latest data from 2017).
- Pacific oyster is the fourth largest aquaculture species in the European Union at over 415 in value, 10% of the total.
Activities related to oysters in NewTechAqua:
- Due to the absence of effective and specific chemotherapy and anti-viral treatments or vaccines to prevent shellfish diseases, the surveillance of such diseases aimed at their prevention has a key role, it is therefore important to implement high levels of on-farm and live-holding facility biosecurity and to restrict stock movements. Repeated episodes of mortality induced by pathogens constitute one of the main impediments to the culture of marine molluscs. Infectious diseases impact production and can cause high economic losses. Some taxa have been shown to affect all life stages of their hosts, including some of the most prolific pathogens in the genus Vibrio Under this scenario, diagnostic tools for the fast screening of pathogens in shellfish are highly desirable. To this end, colorimetric assays and electrochemical biosensors for the detection of viable V. parahaemolyticus in oyster will be developed, based on isothermal RPA and a sandwich hybridisation assay to develop new sensitive, specific and fast diagnostic tools for the fast screening of pathogens in shellfish farming systems.
- NewTechAqua will develop a genomic selection strategy for the genetic improvement of both herpes and vibrio diseases in Pacific oyster, which takes account of the interactions between these diseases. The genetic effects on this type of resistance have never been reported in livestock or in other aquaculture species. The genetic architecture of the resistance to the two diseases and their interaction will also be investigated and reported.
- Novel non-thermal sanitation and processing methods will be tested on pilot scale as an alternative approach to the conventional post-harvest processing methods, with the aim to obtain fresh and minimally processed products with improved quality and stability and high nutritional functionality. Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) will be applied to oysters in pilot and operational. Different conditions in terms of temperature, gas composition and exposure time (parameters influencing the type and the concentration of reactive species produced by plasma) will be checked.