1. Microbiology & Food Hygiene

Use of high pressure to improve safety and quality of shellfish

Project Reference:




Commencement Date:

August, 2001

Project Duration:

41 months


The aim of this project was to study the potential for use of high pressure (HP) treatment by the seafood industry on the island of Ireland. The effect of HP treatment on inactivation of selected target indicator organisms (different strains and species of Escherichia coli and Listeria spp) and viruses in shellfish such as mussels and oysters was studied, and the impact of this process on the sensory quality and shelf-life of shellfish were assessed. 

Results of this project were disseminated to the seafood industry on the island of Ireland.


Principal Contractor(s):

Dr Alan Kelly, University College Cork


Dr Margaret Patterson, Queen’s University Belfast


Peer review:

Laura W. Murchie , Alan L. Kelly , Mildred Wiley , Brian M. Adair , Margaret Patterson*, “Inactivation of a Calicivirus and Enterovirus in shellfish by high pressure”, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 8 (2007) 213–217.

Mary Smiddy, Roy D. Sleator, Margaret F. Patterson, Colin Hill* and Alan L. Kelly. “Role for Compatible Solutes Glycine Betaine and L-Carnitine in Listerial Barotolerance”. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Dec. 2004, p. 7555–7557 Vol. 70, No. 12.

 Mary Smiddy, Lisa O’Gorman, Roy D. Sleator, Joseph P. Kerry, Margaret F. Patterson, Alan L. Kelly*, Colin Hill. “Greater high-pressure resistance of bacteria in oysters than in buffer”. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 6 (2005) 83– 90.

Laura W. Murchie, Malco Cruz-Romerob, Joseph P. Kerry, Mark Linton, Margaret F. Patterson*, Mary Smiddy, Alan L. Kelly. “High pressure processing of shellfish: A review of microbiological and other quality aspects”. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies 6 (2005) 257 – 270.

Mary Smiddy, Alan L. Kelly,*Margaret F. Patterson, Colin Hill. “High pressure-induced inactivation of Qh Coliphage and c2 phage in oysters and in culture media”. International Journal of Food Microbiology 106 (2006) 105 – 110