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Vibrio Studies

The SSL works with the TX Department of State Health Services to monitor the levels of two species of Vibrio bacteria in Galveston Bay oysters.  In addition, the SSL works with oyster harvesters along the Gulf Coast to determine the effectiveness of post-harvest processes to reduce the levels of bacteria in their product.

Since 1989, the SSL has monitored the levels of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Galveston Bay oysters throughout the year.  This data is provided to the Texas Department of State Health services, so that they may temporarily restrict oyster harvesting from areas of the Bay that may have high bacterial counts, in order to reduce potential Vibrio infections in oyster consumers. 

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Non-potable Water Studies

The SSL is FDA-certified for the examination of seawater, to determine the levels of coliforms in coastal waters.  We are able to determine the levels of coliforms, E. coli, and Enterococcus spp. in non-potable waters in the Houston area and in tributary waters of Galveston Bay.

The SSL has studied the levels of E. coli and Enterococcus spp. in Houston waterways and tributary waters of  Galveston Bay.  Water samples are tested using the IDEXX method (IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.)  and qPCR.  IDEXX detects the bacteria through color change and/or fluorescence of the bacteria under a UV lamp, and enumeration is through a “most probable number” (MPN) method.  The qPCR method enumerates the bacteria, allowing for a direct comparison of the number of bacteria via each method. 

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