Oyster Pathogen Threatens Maine Shellfish Industry
February 8, 2011
Working Waterfront: A pathogen that has long plagued oysters in the Mid-Atlantic states caused an outbreak of disease in Maine oyster farms for the first time this summer, threatening a $3 million industry renowned for high quality and taste.
MSX, shorthand for the spore-forming protozoan Haplosporidium nelsoni, is not harmful to humans, and can be present in small numbers without hurting oysters. In fact, MSX was first detected two decades ago in the Damariscotta River, the heart of Maine’s oyster industry. MSX can flourish under certain conditions not fully understood, infecting a large percentage of the oysters in an area.
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