Fluid and its associatedmucus from the pallial (mantle) cavity of eastern oysters Crassostrea virginica (Gmelin) from Black RockHarbor, Bridgeport, Connecticut, inhibited growth of both Gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus) and Gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Serratia marcescens, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus) bacteria in antimicrobial assays. In the presence of oyster fluid, E. coli resulted in significant reduction in growth after 26 h. Soluble lysozyme activity in pallial cavity fluid of oysters collected in the fall was 3 times greater than that measured in combined winter—spring—summer samples (P = 0.0008). During the course of the study, copper concentrations in pallial cavity fluid ranged from 0.60–2.49 ppm and zinc concentrations ranged from 9.7–61.0 ppm. Copper concentrations remained relatively constant throughout the study; the highest zinc concentrations were recorded in the fall. Fall antimicrobial assays showed heightened antimicrobial activity compared with the spring, which may be the result of increased lysozyme activity and higher zinc concentrations present in the pallial cavity fluid at that time of year. Results of this study suggest that pallial cavity fluid and its associated mucus likely serve an important role in defense-related functions as the first line of defense against infections from environmental pathogens in Crassostrea virginica.
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