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Bacteriophages as enteric viral indicators in bivalve mollusc management


Hodgson, KR and Torok, VA and Turnbull, AR, Bacteriophages as enteric viral indicators in bivalve mollusc management, Food Microbiology, 65 pp. 284-293. ISSN 0740-0020 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Crown Copyright 2017

DOI: doi:10.1016/


Human enteric viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A virus, are spread by a variety of routes including faecal-oral transmission. Contaminated bivalve shellfish are regularly implicated in foodborne viral disease outbreaks internationally. Traditionally indicator bacteria, the coliforms and Escherichia coli, have been used to detect faecal pollution in growing waters and shellfish. However, studies have established that they are inadequate as indicators of the risk of human enteric viruses. Bacteriophages have been identified as potential indicators or surrogates for human enteric viruses due to their similarities in morphology, behaviour in water environments and resistance to disinfectant treatments. The somatic coliphages, male-specific RNA coliphages (FRNA coliphages) and the bacteriophages of Bacteroides are the groups recognised as most suitable for water and shellfish testing. In this review, we discuss the rationale and supporting evidence for the application of bacteriophages as surrogates for human enteric viruses in shellfish under a variety of conditions. There is some evidence to support the validity of using bacteriophage levels to indicate viral risk in shellfish in highly contaminated sites and following adverse sewage events.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:shellfish, sewage, virus, food safety indicator, bacteriophage
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Microbiology
Research Field:Virology
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Aquaculture oysters
UTAS Author:Turnbull, AR (Dr Alison Turnbull)
ID Code:139446
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2020-06-16
Last Modified:2020-07-20

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