Effectiveness of cooking to reduce Norovirus and infectious F-specific RNA bacteriophage concentrations in Mytilus edulis

J. Flannery, P. Rajko-Nenow, J. B. Winterbourn, S. K. Malham, D. L. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: The aim of this study was to determine if domestic cooking practices can reduce concentrations of norovirus (NoV) and F-specific RNA (FRNA) bacteriophage in experimentally contaminated mussels. Methods and Results: Mussels (n = 600) contaminated with NoV and FRNA bacteriophage underwent four different cooking experiments performed in triplicate at ~70°C and >90°C. Concentrations of infectious FRNA bacteriophage (using a plaque assay) were compared with concentrations of FRNA bacteriophage and NoV determined using a standardised RT-qPCR. Initial concentrations of infectious FRNA bacteriophage (7·05 log10 PFU g-1) in mussels were not significantly reduced in simmering water (~70°C); however, cooking at higher temperatures (>90°C) reduced infectious FRNA bacteriophage to undetected levels within 3 min. Further investigation determined the time required for a 1-log reduction of infectious FRNA bacteriophage at 90°C to be 42 s therefore a >3-log reduction in infectious virus can be obtained by heating mussel digestive tissue to 90°C for 126 s. Conclusions: Domestic cooking practices based on shell opening alone do not inactivate infectious virus in mussels, however, cooking mussels at high temperatures is effective to reduce infectious virus concentrations and the risk of illness in consumers. Significance and Impact of the Study: The data will contribute towards evidence-based cooking recommendations for shellfish to provide a safe product for human consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-571
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of cooking to reduce Norovirus and infectious F-specific RNA bacteriophage concentrations in Mytilus edulis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this