Pearl oyster grafting is a complex surgical operation that should lead to pearl formation after approximately eighteen months. Although this technique has been used for many years in French Polynesia, the grafting process is still not standardised. While studies have been carried out in order to improve graft performance and yield, these remain highly variable due to post-grafting mortality, nucleus rejection and unreliable pearl quality, all of which constrain pearl farm profitability. The present study uses histological analysis to monitor oysters that either rejected or retained their nuclei. Both groups of oysters are compared in terms of evolution of the graft, which could influence retention, and the development of a pearl sac in cases where grafting was successful. Data show that rejection phenomena are linked to a number of causes, notably an inflammatory reaction in the “receiving” oyster, the presence of numerous tissue lesions and the
quality of the grafted tissue. These results suggest that study is needed on the different concomitant elements of the grafting process: the graft “donor” oysters, the nucleus and the “receiving” oyster and their interactions.