The microbiological quality of oysters high-pressure (HP)-treated in-shell at 260 MPa for 3 min, or 500 or 800 MPa for 5 min and then stored at 2 degrees C, were investigated. Microbial counts after HP treatment showed that the bacterial load was reduced after treatment at all pressures to levels below the detection limit. Randomly-selected isolates from the total aerobic viable counts of untreated and HP-treated oysters after 14 days of storage were identified by the API identification system. Bacteria isolated from oysters HP-treated at 260 MPa were Shewanella putrifaciens and Pseudomonas fluorescens. For oysters HP-treated at 500 or 800 MPa, the main bacteria isolated were Pseudomonas spp. Vibrio spp. comprised 44% of the microflora in untreated oysters after storage for 14 days at 2 degrees C, but no Vibrio were detected in HP-treated oysters. This study confirmed that HP processing can inactivate microorganisms and delay microbial growth in chilled stored oysters. Industrial relevance: High-pressure (HP) treatment is being increasingly employed for commercial processing of oysters but no studies of the microflora of HP-treated in-shell oysters have been reported. HP treatment significantly changed the microflora of oysters and apparently has good potential for inactivation of Vibrio spp as HP treatment, in combination with adequate chilled storage, can improve the microbiological shelf-life and safety of oysters. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.