Oyster is the common name for a number of different families of
salt-water bivalve molluscs that live in marine or brackish habitats.
In some species the valves are highly calcified, and many are somewhat
irregular in shape. Many, but not all, oysters are in the superfamily
Some kinds of oysters are commonly consumed by humans, cooked or raw,
and are regarded as a delicacy. Some kinds of pearl oysters are
harvested for the pearl produced within the mantle. Windowpane oysters
are harvested for their translucent shells, which are used to make
various kinds of decorative objects.
2.1 True oysters
2.3 Other types of oysters
4 Habitat and behaviour
5 Nutrient cycling
6 Ecosystem services
7.1 Fishing from the wild
7.2 Cultivating oysters
7.3 Restoration and recovery
8 As food
8.3 Selection, preparation and storage
8.4 Opening oysters
10 See also
12 External links
First attested in English during the 14th century, the word
"oyster" comes from
Old French oistre, in turn from
Latin ostrea, the
feminine form of ostreum, which is the latinisation of the Greek
ὄστρεον (ostreon), "oyster". Compare ὀστέον
True oysters are members of the family Ostreidae. This family includes
the edible oysters, which mainly belong to the genera Ostrea,
Crassostrea, Ostreola, Magallana, and Saccostrea. Examples include the
Belon oyster, eastern oyster, Olympia oyster, Pacific oyster, and the
Sydney rock oyster.
Removing a pearl from a pearl oyster
Almost all shell-bearing mollusks can secrete pearls, yet most are not
Pearl oysters are not closely related to true oysters, being members
of a distinct family, the feathered oysters (Pteriidae). Both cultured
pearls and natural pearls can be extracted from pearl oysters, though
other molluscs, such as the freshwater mussels, also yield pearls of
The largest pearl-bearing oyster is the marine Pinctada maxima, which
is roughly the size of a dinner plate. Not all individual oysters
produce pearls naturally. In fact, in a harvest of two and a half tons
of oysters, only three to four oysters produce what commercial buyers
consider to be absolute perfect pearls.
In nature, pearl oysters produce pearls by covering a minute invasive
object with nacre. Over the years, the irritating object is covered
with enough layers of nacre to become a pearl. The many different
types, colours and shapes of pearls depend on the natural pigment of
the nacre, and the shape of the original irritant.
Pearl farmers can culture a pearl by placing a nucleus, usually a
piece of polished mussel shell, inside the oyster. In three to seven
years, the oyster can produce a perfect pearl. These pearls are not as
valuable as natural pearls, but look exactly the same. In fact, since
the beginning of the 20th century, when several researchers discovered
how to produce artificial pearls, the cultured pearl market has far
outgrown the natural pearl market.
Other types of oysters
A number of bivalve molluscs (other than true oysters and pearl
oysters) also have common names that include the word "oyster",
usually because they either taste like or look somewhat like true
oysters, or because they yield noticeable pearls. Examples include:
Thorny oysters in the genus Spondylus
Pilgrim oyster, another term for a scallop, in reference to the
scallop shell of St. James
Saddle oysters, members of the
Anomiidae family also known as jingle
Dimydarian oysters, members of the family Dimyidae
Pacific oyster, opened
In the Philippines, a local thorny oyster species known as Tikod Amo
is a favorite seafood source in the southern part of the country.
Because of its good flavor, it commands high prices.
Oysters are filter feeders, drawing water in over their gills through
the beating of cilia. Suspended plankton and particles are trapped in
the mucus of a gill, and from there are transported to the mouth,
where they are eaten, digested, and expelled as feces or pseudofeces.
Oysters feed most actively at temperatures above 10 °C
(50 °F). An oyster can filter up to 5 L
(1.3 US gal) of water per hour. The Chesapeake Bay's
once-flourishing oyster population historically filtered excess
nutrients from the estuary's entire water volume every three to four
days. Today, that would take nearly a year. Excess sediment,
nutrients, and algae can result in the eutrophication of a body of
Oyster filtration can mitigate these pollutants.
In addition to their gills, oysters can also exchange gases across
their mantles, which are lined with many small, thin-walled blood
vessels. A small, three-chambered heart, lying under the adductor
muscle, pumps colorless blood to all parts of the body. At the same
time, two kidneys, located on the underside of the muscle, remove
waste products from the blood. Their nervous system includes two pairs
of nerve cords and three pairs of ganglia.
While some oysters have two sexes (European oyster and Olympia
oyster), their reproductive organs contain both eggs and sperm.
Because of this, it is technically possible for an oyster to fertilize
its own eggs. The gonads surround the digestive organs, and are made
up of sex cells, branching tubules, and connective tissue.
Once the female is fertilized, she discharges millions of eggs into
the water. The larvae develop in about six hours and exist suspended
in the water column as veliger larvae for two to three weeks before
settling on a bed and maturing to sexual adulthood within a year.
Habitat and behaviour
Oyster reef at about mid-tide off fishing pier at Hunting Island State
Park, South Carolina
A group of oysters is commonly called a bed or oyster reef.
Rocks in intertidal zone covered by oysters, at Bangchuidao Scenic
Area, Dalian, Liaoning Province, China
As a keystone species, oysters provide habitat for many marine
Saccostrea live mainly in the intertidal
Ostrea is subtidal. The hard surfaces of oyster shells and
the nooks between the shells provide places where a host of small
animals can live. Hundreds of animals, such as sea anemones,
barnacles, and hooked mussels, inhabit oyster reefs. Many of these
animals are prey to larger animals, including fish, such as striped
bass, black drum and croakers.
An oyster reef can increase the surface area of a flat bottom 50-fold.
An oyster's mature shape often depends on the type of bottom to which
it is originally attached, but it always orients itself with its
outer, flared shell tilted upward. One valve is cupped and the other
Oysters usually reach maturity in one year. They are protandric;
during their first year, they spawn as males by releasing sperm into
the water. As they grow over the next two or three years and develop
greater energy reserves, they spawn as females by releasing eggs. Bay
oysters usually spawn from the end of June until mid-August. An
increase in water temperature prompts a few oysters to spawn. This
triggers spawning in the rest, clouding the water with millions of
eggs and sperm. A single female oyster can produce up to 100 million
eggs annually. The eggs become fertilized in the water and develop
into larvae, which eventually find suitable sites, such as another
oyster's shell, on which to settle. Attached oyster larvae are called
spat. Spat are oysters less than 25 mm (1 in) long. Many
species of bivalves, oysters included, seem to be stimulated to settle
near adult conspecifics.
Crassostrea gigas equipped with activity electrodes to
follow their daily behaviour
Oysters are considered to filter large amounts of water to feed and
breathe (exchange O2 and CO2 with water) but they are not permanently
open. They regularly shut their valves to enter a resting state, even
when they are permanently submersed. In fact their behaviour follows
very strict circatidal and circadian rhythms according to the relative
moon and sun positions. During neap tides, they exhibit much longer
closing periods than during the spring tide.
Some tropical oysters, such as the mangrove oyster in the family
Ostreidae, grow best on mangrove roots. Low tide can expose them,
making them easy to collect. In
Trinidad in the West Indies, tourists
are often astounded when they are told, in the Caribbean, "oysters
grow on trees".
The largest oyster-producing body of water in the
United States is
Chesapeake Bay, although these beds have decreased in number due to
overfishing and pollution.
Willapa Bay in Washington produces more
oysters than any other estuary in the US. Other large oyster
farming areas in the US include the bays and estuaries along the coast
Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico from
Apalachicola, Florida in the east to
Galveston, Texas in the west. Large beds of edible oysters are also
Japan and Australia. In 2005, China accounted for 80% of the
global oyster harvest. Within Europe,
France remained the industry
Common oyster predators include crabs, seabirds, starfish, and humans.
Some oysters contain live crabs, known as oyster crabs.
Bivalves, including oysters, are effective filter feeders and can have
large effects on the water columns in which they occur. As filter
feeders, oysters remove plankton and organic particles from the water
column. Multiple studies have shown individual oysters are capable
of filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day, and thus oyster reefs
can significantly improve water quality and clarity.
Oysters consume nitrogen-containing compounds (nitrates and ammonia),
phosphates, plankton, detritus, bacteria, and dissolved organic
matter, removing them from the water.  What is not used for animal
growth is then expelled as solid waste pellets, which eventually
decompose into the atmosphere as nitrogen. In Maryland, the
Chesapeake Bay Program plans to use oysters to reduce the amount of
nitrogen compounds entering the
Chesapeake Bay by 8,600 t
(19,000,000 lb) per year by 2010. Several studies have shown
that oysters and mussels have the capacity to dramatically alter
nitrogen levels in estuaries. In the U.S., Delaware is the
only East Coast state without aquaculture, but making aquaculture a
state-controlled industry of leasing water by the acre for commercial
harvesting of shellfish is being considered. Supporters of
Delaware's legislation to allow oyster aquaculture cite revenue, job
creation, and nutrient cycling benefits. It is estimated that one acre
can produce nearly 750,000 oysters, which could filter between 57,000
to 150,000 m3 (15,000,000 to 40,000,000 US gal) of
water daily. Also see nutrient pollution for an extended
explanation of nutrient remediation.
As an ecosystem engineer oysters provide "supporting" ecosystem
services, along with "provisioning", "regulating" and "cultural"
Oysters influence nutrient cycling, water filtration,
habitat structure, biodiversity, and food web dynamics. Oyster
feeding and nutrient cycling activities could "rebalance" shallow,
coastal ecosystems if restoration of historic populations could be
achieved. Furthermore, assimilation of nitrogen and phosphorus
into shellfish tissues provides an opportunity to remove these
nutrients from the environment, but this benefit has only recently
been recognized. In California's Tomales Bay, native
oyster presence is associated with higher species diversity of benthic
invertebrates but other ecosystem services have not been
studied. As the ecological and economic importance of oyster reefs
has become more widely acknowledged, creation of oyster reef habitat
through restoration efforts has become more important- often with the
goal of restoring multiple ecosystem services associated with natural
Oysters by Alexander Adriaenssen
Whaleback Shell Midden
Whaleback Shell Midden in
Maine contains the shells from oysters
harvested for food dating from 2200-1000 years ago
Middens testify to the prehistoric importance of oysters as food, with
some middens in New South Wales, Australia dated at ten thousand
years. They have been cultivated in
Japan from at least 2000
BC. In the United Kingdom, the town of
Whitstable is noted for
oyster farming from beds on the Kentish Flats that have been used
since Roman times. The borough of
Colchester holds an annual Oyster
Feast each October, at which "
Colchester Natives" (the native oyster,
Ostrea edulis) are consumed. The
United Kingdom hosts several other
annual oyster festivals, for example Woburn
Oyster Festival is held in
September. Many breweries produce
Oyster Stout, a beer intended to be
drunk with oysters that sometimes includes oysters in the brewing
The French seaside resort of
Brittany is noted for its
oysters, which also date from Roman times.
Sergius Orata of the Roman
Republic is considered the first major merchant and cultivator of
oysters. Using his considerable knowledge of hydraulics, he built a
sophisticated cultivation system, including channels and locks, to
control the tides. He was so famous for this, the Romans used to say
he could breed oysters on the roof of his house.
In the early 19th century, oysters were cheap and mainly eaten by the
working class. Throughout the 19th century, oyster beds in New York
Harbor became the largest source of oysters worldwide. On any day in
the late 19th century, six million oysters could be found on barges
tied up along the city's waterfront. They were naturally quite popular
in New York City, and helped initiate the city's restaurant trade.
New York's oystermen became skilled cultivators of their beds, which
provided employment for hundreds of workers and nutritious food for
thousands. Eventually, rising demand exhausted many of the beds. To
increase production, they introduced foreign species, which brought
disease; effluent and increasing sedimentation from erosion destroyed
most of the beds by the early 20th century. Oysters' popularity has
put ever-increasing demands on wild oyster stocks. This scarcity
increased prices, converting them from their original role as
working-class food to their current status as an expensive delicacy.
In the United Kingdom, the native variety (
Ostrea edulis) requires
five years to mature and is protected by an
Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament during
the May to August spawning season. The current market is dominated by
Pacific oyster and rock oyster varieties which are farmed
Fishing from the wild
Oysters are harvested by simply gathering them from their beds. In
very shallow waters, they can be gathered by hand or with small rakes.
In somewhat deeper water, long-handled rakes or oyster tongs are used
to reach the beds. Patent tongs can be lowered on a line to reach beds
that are too deep to reach directly. In all cases, the task is the
same: the oysterman scrapes oysters into a pile, and then scoops them
up with the rake or tongs.
In some areas, a scallop dredge is used. This is a toothed bar
attached to a chain bag. The dredge is towed through an oyster bed by
a boat, picking up the oysters in its path. While dredges collect
oysters more quickly, they heavily damage the beds, and their use is
highly restricted. Until 1965,
Maryland limited dredging to sailboats,
and even since then motor boats can be used only on certain days of
the week. These regulations prompted the development of specialized
sailboats (the bugeye and later the skipjack) for dredging.
Similar laws were enacted in Connecticut before World War I and lasted
until 1969. The laws restricted the harvesting of oysters in
state-owned beds to vessels under sail. These laws prompted the
construction of the oyster sloop-style vessel to last well into the
20th century. Hope is believed to be the last-built Connecticut oyster
sloop, completed in 1948.
Oysters can also be collected by divers.
In any case, when the oysters are collected, they are sorted to
eliminate dead animals, bycatch (unwanted catch), and debris. Then
they are taken to market, where they are either canned or sold live.
Oyster culture in Riec-sur-Belon, France
Oysters have been cultured for well over a century. The Pacific oyster
Magallana gigas) is presently the most widely grown bivalve around
the world. Two methods are commonly used, release and bagging. In
both cases, oysters are cultivated onshore to the size of spat, when
they can attach themselves to a substrate. They may be allowed to
mature further to form 'seed oysters'. In either case, they are then
placed in the water to mature. The release technique involves
distributing the spat throughout existing oyster beds, allowing them
to mature naturally to be collected like wild oysters. Bagging has the
cultivator putting spat in racks or bags and keeping them above the
bottom. Harvesting involves simply lifting the bags or rack to the
surface and removing the mature oysters. The latter method prevents
losses to some predators, but is more expensive.
Pacific oyster has been grown in the outflow of mariculture ponds.
When fish or prawns are grown in ponds, it takes typically 10 kg
(22 lb) of feed to produce 1 kg (2.2 lb) of product
(dry-dry basis). The other 9 kg (20 lb) goes into the pond
and after mineralization, provides food for phytoplankton, which in
turn feeds the oyster.
To prevent spawning, sterile oysters are now cultured by crossbreeding
tetraploid and diploid oysters. The resulting triploid oyster cannot
propagate, which prevents introduced oysters from spreading into
Restoration and recovery
In many areas, non-native oysters have been introduced in attempts to
prop up failing harvests of native varieties. For example, the eastern
Crassostrea virginica) was introduced to California waters in
1875, while the
Pacific oyster was introduced there in 1929.
Proposals for further such introductions remain controversial.
Pacific oyster prospered in Pendrell Sound, where the surface
water is typically warm enough for spawning in the summer. Over the
following years, spat spread out sporadically and populated adjacent
areas. Eventually, possibly following adaptation to the local
Pacific oyster spread up and down the coast and now is
the basis of the North American west coast oyster industry. Pendrell
Sound is now a reserve that supplies spat for cultivation. Near
the mouth of the
Great Wicomico River
Great Wicomico River in the Chesapeake Bay,
five-year-old artificial reefs now harbor more than 180 million native
Crassostrea virginica. That is far lower than in the late 1880s, when
the bay's population was in the billions, and watermen harvested about
910,000 m3 (25,000,000 imp bsh) annually. The 2009
harvest was less than 7,300 m3 (200,000 imp bsh).
Researchers claim the keys to the project were:
using waste oyster shells to elevate the reef floor 25–45 cm
(9.8–17.7 in) to keep the spat free of bottom sediments
building larger reefs, ranging up to 8.1 ha (20 acres) in size
The "oyster-tecture" movement promotes the use of oyster reefs for
water purification and wave attenuation. An oyster-tecture project has
been implemented at Withers Estuary, Withers Swash, South Carolina, by
Neil Chambers-led volunteers, at a site where pollution was affecting
beach tourism. Currently, for the installation cost of $3000,
roughly 4.8 million liters of water are being filtered daily. In New
Jersey, however, the Department of Environmental Protection refused to
allow oysters as a filtering system in Sandy Hook Bay and the Raritan
Bay, citing worries that commercial shellfish growers would be at risk
and that members of the public might disregard warnings and consume
New Jersey Baykeepers responded by changing their
strategy for utilizing oysters to clean up the waterway, by partnering
with Naval Weapons Station Earle. The Navy station is under 24/7
security and therefore eliminates any poaching and associated human
health risk. Oyster-tecture projects have been proposed to protect
coastal cities, such as New York, from the threat of rising sea levels
due to climate change.
The accidental or intentional introduction of species by humans has
the potential to negatively impact native oyster populations. For
example, non-native species in
Tomales Bay have resulted in the loss
of half of California's Olympia oysters.
In October 2017, it was reported that underwater noise pollution can
affect oysters as they close their shells when exposed to low
frequencies of sounds in experimental conditions.
Oysters rely on
hearing waves and currents to regulate their circadian rhythms, and
perception of weather events—such as rain—may induce spawning.
Cargo ships, pile drivers, and explosions conducted underwater produce
low frequencies that may be detected by oysters.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Raw oysters presented on a plate
Oysters served on ice and with a piece of lemon on the side
Jonathan Swift is quoted as having said, "He was a bold man that first
ate an oyster", but evidence of oyster consumption goes back into
prehistory, evidenced by oyster middens found worldwide.
an important food source in all coastal areas where they could be
found, and oyster fisheries were an important industry where they were
plentiful. Overfishing and pressure from diseases and pollution have
sharply reduced supplies, but they remain a popular treat celebrated
in oyster festivals in many cities and towns.
It was once assumed that oysters were only safe to eat in months with
the letter 'r' in their English and French names. This myth is based
in truth, in that in the Northern Hemisphere, oysters are much more
likely to spoil in the warmer months of May, June, July, and
August. In recent years, pathogens such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus
have caused outbreaks in several harvesting areas of the eastern
United States during the summer months, lending further credence to
Depuration of oysters is a common industry practice and widely
researched in the scientific community but is not commonly known by
end consumers. The main objective of seafood depuration is to remove
fecal contamination in seafood before being sold to end consumers.
Oyster depuration is useful since they are generally eaten raw and in
many countries, the requirement to process is government-regulated or
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
formally recognizes depuration and has published detailed documents on
the process, whereas the Codex Alimentarius, encourages the
application of seafood depuration.
Oyster depuration begins after the harvest of oysters from farmed
locations. The oysters are transported and placed into tanks pumped
with clean water for periods of 48 to 72 hours. The holding
temperatures and salinity vary according to species. The seawater that
the oysters were originally farmed in does not remain in the oyster,
since the water used for depuration must be fully sterilized, plus the
depuration facility would not necessarily be located near the farming
location. Depuration of oysters can remove moderate levels of
contamination of most bacterial indicators and pathogens. Well-known
Vibrio parahaemolyticus which is a bacterium
found in seawater animals that is temperature sensitive, and
Escherichia coli which is a bacterium found in coastal waters near
highly populated cities having sewage systems discharging waste
nearby, or from agricultural discharges. Depuration expands beyond
oysters into many shellfish and other related products, especially in
seafood that is known to come from potentially polluted areas;
depurated seafood is effectively a product cleansed from inside-out to
make it safe for human consumption.
Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium, and selenium,
as well as vitamin A and vitamin B12.
Oysters are low in food energy;
one dozen raw oysters contains 110 kilocalories (460 kJ).
They are rich in protein (approximately 9g in 100g of pacific
Traditionally, oysters are considered to be an aphrodisiac, partially
because they resemble female sex organs. A team of American and
Italian researchers analyzed bivalves and found they were rich in
amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their
high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.
Dietary supplements may contain calcium carbonate from oyster shells,
though no evidence shows this offers any benefits beyond what calcium
Selection, preparation and storage
Unlike most shellfish, oysters can have a fairly long shelf life of up
to four weeks. However, their taste becomes less pleasant as they age.
Oysters should be refrigerated out of water, not frozen, and in 100%
Oysters stored in water under refrigeration will open,
consume available oxygen, and die.
Freshly opened pearl oysters
Freshly shucked European flat Oyster
Oysters must be eaten alive, or cooked alive. The shells of live
oysters are usually tightly closed or snap shut given a slight tap. If
the shell is open, the oyster is dead, and cannot be eaten safely.
Cooking oysters in the shell kills the oysters and causes them to open
by themselves. Traditionally, oysters that do not open have been
assumed to be dead before cooking and therefore unsafe. However,
according to at least one marine biologist, Nick Ruello, this advice
may have arisen from an old, poorly researched cookbook's advice
regarding mussels, which has now become an assumed truism for all
shellfish. Ruello found 11.5% of all mussels failed to open during
cooking, but when forced open, 100% were "both adequately cooked and
safe to eat."
Giant oyster in southern Angola
Fried oyster with egg and flour is a common dish in Malaysia and
Oysters can be eaten on the half shell, raw, smoked, boiled, baked,
fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed, or broiled, or used
in a variety of drinks. Eating can be as simple as opening the shell
and eating the contents, including juice.
Butter and salt are often
added. In the case of
Oysters Rockefeller, preparation can be very
elaborate. They are sometimes served on edible seaweed, such as brown
Care should be taken when consuming oysters. Purists insist on eating
them raw, with no dressing save perhaps lemon juice, vinegar (most
commonly shallot vinegar), or cocktail sauce. Upscale restaurants pair
raw oysters with a home-made Mignonette sauce, which consists
primarily of fresh chopped shallot, mixed peppercorn, dry white wine
and lemon juice or sherry vinegar. Like fine wine, raw oysters have
complex flavors that vary greatly among varieties and regions: salty,
briny, buttery, metallic, or even fruity. The texture is soft and
fleshy, but crisp on the palate. North American varieties include:
Yaquina Bay from Oregon,
Duxbury and Wellfleet from
Massachusetts, Malpeque from Prince Edward Island, Canada, Blue Point
from Long Island, New York, Pemaquid from Maine, and
Cape May oysters
from New Jersey. Variations in water salinity, alkalinity, and
mineral/nutritional content influence their flavor profile.
Oysters can contain harmful bacteria.
Oysters are filter feeders, so
will naturally concentrate anything present in the surrounding water.
Oysters from the
Gulf Coast of the United States, for example, contain
high bacterial loads of human pathogens in the warm months, most
Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. In these cases,
the main danger is for immunocompromised individuals, who are unable
to fight off infection and can succumb to septicemia, leading to
Vibrio vulnificus is the most deadly seafood-borne pathogen.
Special knives for opening live oysters, such as this one, have short
and stout blades.
Fresh oysters must be alive just before consumption or cooking. There
is only one criterion: the oyster must be capable of tightly closing
its shell. Open oysters should be tapped on the shell; a live oyster
will close up and is safe to eat.
Oysters which are open and
unresponsive are dead and must be discarded. Some dead oysters, or
oyster shells which are full of sand may be closed. These make a
distinctive noise when tapped, and are known as 'clackers'.
Opening oysters, referred to as oyster-shucking, requires skill. The
preferred method is to use a special knife (called an oyster knife, a
variant of a shucking knife), with a short and thick blade about
5 cm (2.0 in) long.
While different methods are used to open an oyster (which sometimes
depend on the type), the following is one commonly accepted
Insert the blade, with moderate force and vibration if necessary, at
the hinge between the two valves.
Twist the blade until there is a slight pop.
Slide the blade upward to cut the adductor muscle which holds the
Inexperienced shuckers can apply too much force, which can result in
injury if the blade slips. Heavy gloves are necessary; apart from the
knife, the shell itself can be razor sharp. Professional shuckers
require fewer than three seconds to open the shell.
If the oyster has a particularly soft shell, the knife can be inserted
instead in the 'sidedoor', about halfway along one side where the
oyster lips widen with a slight indentation.
Opening or "shucking" oysters has become a competitive sport.
Oyster-shucking competitions are staged around the world. Widely
acknowledged to be the premiere event, the Guinness World Oyster
Opening Championship is held in September at the Galway Oyster
Festival. The annual Clarenbridge
Oyster Festival '
Competition' is also held in Galway, Ireland.
Oysters are subject to various diseases which can reduce harvests and
severely deplete local populations. Disease control focuses on
containing infections and breeding resistant strains, and is the
subject of much ongoing research.
"Dermo" is caused by a protozoan parasite (Perkinsus marinus). It is a
prevalent pathogen, causes massive mortality, and poses a significant
economic threat to the oyster industry. The disease is not a direct
threat to humans consuming infected oysters. Dermo first appeared
Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico in the 1950s, and until 1978 was believed to be
caused by a fungus. While it is most serious in warmer waters, it has
gradually spread up the east coast of the United States.
Multinucleated sphere X (MSX) is caused by the protozoan
Haplosporidium nelsoni, generally seen as a multinucleated Plasmodium.
It is infectious and causes heavy mortality in the eastern oyster;
survivors, however, develop resistance and can help propagate
resistant populations. MSX is associated with high salinity and water
temperatures. MSX was first noted in
Delaware Bay in 1957, and is
now found all up and down the East Coast of the United States.
Evidence suggests it was brought to the US when
Crassostrea gigas, a
Japanese oyster variety, was introduced to Delaware Bay.
Some oysters also harbor bacterial species which can cause human
disease; of importance is Vibrio vulnificus, which causes
gastroenteritis, which is usually self-limiting, and cellulitis.
Cellulitis can be so severe and rapidly spreading, often it requires
amputation. It is usually acquired when the contents of the oyster
come in contact with a cut skin lesion, as when shucking an oyster.
Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on
Angels on horseback
Angels on horseback (classic recipe)
List of delicacies
List of smoked foods
Ostrea angasi (Australian southern mud or native flat oyster)
Oysters Kirkpatrick (classic recipe and minor English literary
Sydney rock oyster
Oysters in Cynee, Recipe for
Oysters in Bread Sauce (
Cynee) from the 1390 English text, The Forme of Cury, from Celtnet
^ ostrea, ostreum, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin
Dictionary, on Perseus
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