Foodwise (news articles)
01 June 2015
The work of the Food Authority is underpinned by the use of sound science and evidence to identify, evaluate and manage emerging food safety issues.
Recently, the Food Authority partnered with researchers from the University of Technology Sydney to study the impact of ocean temperatures on the way oysters absorb toxins, in an attempt to prepare for the forecasted effects of climate change.
The research was published in the Global Change Biology journal, a highly regarded scientific journal and the lead author was Dr Hazel Farrell, Shellfish Operations Officer for the Food Authority.
Dr Farrell worked with the Food Authority’s NSW Shellfish Program Manager, Anthony Zammit and a team of scientific researchers to deliver the findings which involved a large-scale feeding experiment on several different oyster types kept at two different temperatures.
Results were mixed, showing that the Sydney rock oyster and the diploid form of the Pacific oyster absorbed less toxins in warmer temperatures, but found that the toxin removal process had slowed down.
The research team plan to conduct sampling during an actual algal bloom event to determine if the variations between species are similar in the field. This kind of information helps guide decisions by farmers and the Food Authority about future oyster production.
The paper – Warm temperature acclimation impacts metabolism of paralytic shellfish toxins from Alexandrium minutum in commercial oysters can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley. com/doi/10.1111/gcb.12952/pdf