Development of the analysis of fecal stanols in the oyster Crassostrea gigas and identification of fecal contamination in shellfish harvesting areas

Loic Charles Pierre Harrault, Emilie Jarde, Laurent Jeanneau, Patrice Petitjean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this work was to study the effects of washing and purification steps on qualitative and quantitative analysis of fecal stanols in the oyster Crassostrea gigas using either single or a combination of lipid purification steps on silica gel or aminopropyl bonded silica gel (NH2) or a washing step. Among the three analytical pathways compared, the two including water extraction or NH2 purification did not lead to higher recoveries and decreased repeatabilities of extractions compared to the single purification on silica gel. This latter led to similar recoveries (ca. 80 %) and repeatabilities (ca. 10 %) for both spiked standards (coprostanol and sitostanol). This analytical pathway has been applied to oysters collected in a harvesting area in Brittany (France) where fecal contaminations are important and allowed to quantify eight stanols in oysters. The relative proportions of fecal stanols of these oysters were combined with principal component analysis in order to investigate the usefulness of their stanol fingerprints to record a fecal contamination and to distinguish its source between human, porcine and bovine contaminations. Oysters non-fecally contaminated by Escherichia coli did not present specific stanol fingerprints while oysters fecally contaminated had a bovine fingerprint, suggesting a contamination of these samples by bovine sources. As a consequence, the method developed here allows the use of stanol fingerprints of oysters as a microbial source tracking tool that can be applied to shellfish harvesting areas subjected to fecal contaminations in order to identify the different sources of contamination and improve watershed management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-607
Number of pages11
Issue number6
Early online date27 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • stanol analysis
  • gas chromatography
  • mass spectrometry
  • oysters
  • fecal contamination
  • microbial source tracking

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