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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 138:1-15 (2020)  -  DOI:

Detection of ostreid herpesvirus-1 in plankton and seawater samples at an estuary scale

Olivia Liu1,3, Ika Paul-Pont1,4, Ana Rubio2, Navneet Dhand1, Richard J. Whittington1,*

1School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia
2Hornsby Shire Council, 296 Peats Ferry Road, Hornsby, NSW 2077, Australia
3Present address: Aquatic Pest and Health Policy, Animal Health Policy Branch, Biosecurity Animal Division, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
4Present address: Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environment Marin (LEMAR), UMR 6539 CNRS/UBO/ IRD/IFREMER, Institut Univesitaire Europeen de la Mer, Technopole Brest-Iroise, 29280 Plouzane, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ostreid herpesvirus-1 (OsHV-1) is known to associate with particles in seawater, leading to infection and disease in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. The estuarine environment is highly complex and changeable, and this needs to be considered when collecting environmental samples for pathogen detection. The aims of this study were to (1) compare different aspects of collecting natural seawater and plankton samples for detection of OsHV-1 DNA and (2) determine whether detection of OsHV-1 DNA in such environmental samples has merit for disease risk prediction. The results of one experiment suggest that sampling on the outgoing tide may improve the detection of OsHV-1 DNA in seawater and plankton tow samples (odds ratio 2.71). This statistical comparison was not possible in 2 other experiments. The method (plankton tow or beta bottle) and depth of collection (range: 250-1250 mm) had no effect on the likelihood of detection of OsHV-1. OsHV-1 DNA was found at low concentrations in plankton tow and seawater samples, and only when outbreaks of mortality associated with OsHV-1 were observed in nearby experimental or farmed populations of C. gigas. This suggests that single point in time environmental samples of seawater or plankton are not sufficient to rule out the presence of OsHV-1 in an estuary. The association of OsHV-1 with particles in seawater needs to be better understood in order to determine whether more selective and sensitive methods can be devised to detect it, before environmental samples can be reliably used in disease risk prediction.

KEY WORDS: Ostreid herpesvirus-1 · Plankton · Seawater · Detection · Crassostrea gigas · Disease

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Cite this article as: Liu O, Paul-Pont I, Rubio A, Dhand N, Whittington RJ (2020) Detection of ostreid herpesvirus-1 in plankton and seawater samples at an estuary scale. Dis Aquat Org 138:1-15.

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