Shellfish Food Safety and Animal Health – A unified strategy for detecting multiple biological threats on a single platform (RD011)

Aim:

This project aims to develop a “One Health” molecular toolbox using innovative technology for multiple targets and matrices. By harnessing the potential of nanopore sequencing, we aim to develop assays to assess shellfish food safety and animal health issues, targeting human and mollusc pathogens as well as toxin producing algae that bioaccumulate in shellfish. The resulting assays will be adapted for use in the field as well as in the lab, revolutionising portable diagnosis within the field of shellfish production.

Funding Amount:

£249,939

Duration of Project:

18 Months

Close up image of shellfish on fish counter

Summary:

The accumulation of human pathogens (e.g. bacteria and viruses) as well as biotoxins in marine molluscs is a major food safety problem faced by the shellfish production industry. Due to potentially life-threatening implications, mitigation of human exposure to pathogens and biotoxins is of paramount importance. Additionally, marine mollusc production has been adversely affected by mass mortalities caused by animal diseases, which can cause considerable socio-economic issues. As such, the application of a new technology that has the potential to provide the shellfish industry with a near real time diagnostic tool for the detection and characterisation of pathogens and toxic algae would be of upmost value.

The One Health approach highlights the importance of integrating human health and animal health together with their various environments. The World Organisation for Animal Health acknowledge and recommends the implementation of this approach to understand the risks for human, animal and ecosystem health, as a whole. In accordance with the aforementioned factors, this project aims to develop a “One Health” molecular toolbox using innovative technology for multiple targets and matrices. By harnessing the potential of nanopore sequencing, we aim to develop assays to assess shellfish food safety and animal health issues, targeting human and mollusc pathogens as well as toxin producing algae that bioaccumulate in shellfish. The resulting assays will be adapted for use in the field as well as in the lab, revolutionising portable diagnosis within the field of shellfish production.

Project Lead

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)