The effects of E-beam irradiation and microwave energy on Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica) experimentally infected with Cryptosporidium parvum.J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2005 Nov-Dec; 52(6):484-8.JE
Shellfish have been identified as a potential source of Cryptosporidium infection for humans. The inactivation of C. parvum and other pathogens in raw molluscan shellfish would provide increased food safety for normal and at-risk consumers. The present study examined the efficacy of two alternative food-processing treatments, e-beam irradiation and microwave energy, on the viability of C. parvum oocysts in Eastern Oysters (Crassostrea virginica), which were artificially infected with the Beltsville strain of C. parvum. The effects of the treatments were evaluated by oral feeding of the processed oyster tissues to neonatal mice. Significant reductions (P<0.05) in infectivity were observed for in-shell and shucked oysters treated with e-beam irradiation at doses of 1.0, 1.5, or 2 kGy vs. untreated controls. A dose of 2 kGy completely eliminated C. parvum infectivity and did not adversely affect the visual appearance of the oysters. Oyster tissue treated with microwave exposures of 1 s (43.2 degrees C), 2 s (54.0 degrees C), and 3 s (62.5 degrees C) showed a reduction in C. parvum mouse infectivity, but the effects were not significantly different (P>0.05) from controls. Microwave energy treatments at 2 and 3 s showed extensive changes in oyster meat texture and color. Thus, because of lack of efficacy and unacceptable tissue changes, microwave treatment of oysters is not considered a viable food-processing method.