Are fecal stanols suitable to record and identify a pulse of human fecal contamination in short-term exposed shellfish?

Loic Harrault, Emilie Jarde (Collaborator), Laurent Jeanneau (Collaborator), Patrice Petitjean (Collaborator)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, the capacity of oysters to bioaccumulate fecal stanols and to record a source-specific fingerprint was investigated by the short-term contamination of seawater microcosms containing oysters with a human effluent. Contaminated oysters bioaccumulated the typical fecal stanols coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol and their bioaccumulation kinetics were similar to that of the Fecal Indicator Bacteria Escherichia coli used in European legislation. Although stanol fingerprints of contaminated water allowed the identification of the human specific fingerprint, this was not the case for oysters. This discrepancy is attributed to (i) high concentrations of endogenous cholestanol and sitostanol, responsible for “unbalanced” stanol fingerprints, (ii) different accumulation/depuration kinetics of fecal coprostanol and 24-ethylcoprostanol and (iii) the limits of the analytical pathway used. These results show that fecal stanols bioaccumulated by oysters are useful to record fecal contamination but the usefulness of stanol fingerprints to identify specific sources of contamination in shellfish currently seems limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-48
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number1-2
Early online date31 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

As part of the Riskmanche project (, this study was fully funded by the Interreg IV A France (Channel)-England cross-border European cooperation program. Dr. S. Mullin post-edited the English style (


  • Oyster
  • Fecal contamination
  • Seawater
  • Fecal stanols
  • Persistence
  • Microcosms


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