Evaluation of a digestion assay and determination of sample size and tissue for the reliable detection of Trichinella larvae in walrus meat.J Vet Diagn Invest. 2003 Mar; 15(2):188-91.JV
A digestion assay was validated for the detection of Trichinella larvae in walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) meat, and appropriate samples for testing were determined using tissues from infected walruses harvested for food. Examination of muscles from 3 walruses showed that the tongue consistently contained approximately 2-6 times more larvae than the pectoral and intercostal muscles. Comparison of numbers of larvae in the root, body, and apex of the tongue from 3 walruses failed to identify a predilection site within the tongue, but the apex was considered an optimal tissue because of the high larval density within the tongue and the ease of collection. All 31 spiked samples weighing 50 g each and containing between 0.1 and 0.4 larvae per gram (lpg) were correctly identified as infected, indicating that the sensitivity of this procedure is adequate for diagnostic use. A sample size of 10 g consistently detected larvae in 2 walrus tongues containing > or = 0.3 lpg (n = 40), and until additional data are available, sample sizes from individual walrus tongues should be a minimum of 10 g. This study provides the preliminary data that were used for the development of a food safety analytical protocol for the detection of Trichinella in walrus meat in arctic communities.