Date of Original Version
The ability of hard-shelled clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) to accumulate fecal coliforms and other microorganisms (Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, and male-specific bacteriophages) was determined over a 1-year period. Twenty separate trails were conducted during different seasons to encompass a wide range of water temperatures. The greatest accumulation of microorganisms in hard-shelled clams occurred during certain periods in the spring, at temperatures ranging from 11.5 to 21.5°C. These periods of hyperaccumulation did not always coincide for all organisms; the accumulation of bacteriophages was not predicted by the accumulation of either fecal coliforms or C. perfringens. Bacteriophages and C. perfringens showed significantly higher rates of accumulation than either the fecal coliform group or E. coli, especially during the spring. The higher incidence of human viral gastroenteritis associated with the consumption of shellfish during this period may be a result of the extraordinary concentration of certain microorganisms, including enteric viral pathogens.
Burkhardt, W., III, Watkins, W. D., & Rippey, S. R. (1992). Seasonal effects on accumulation of microbial indicator organisms by Mercenaria mercenaria. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 58(3), 826-831. Retrieved from https://aem.asm.org/content/58/3/826.
Available at: https://aem.asm.org/content/58/3/826