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Amplified Assays for Pathogenic Bacteria in Foods (9601563)

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Food safety related to bacterial contamination of food can best be ensured by the development of good surveillance methods to detect these toxic bacteria. These include E. coli strains which produce toxins and frequently contaminate beef, and Salmonella which are more commonly associated with poultry. There are methods available to detect these bacteria, but they require several days to complete testing, during which time the source of a food poisoning outbreak is difficult to identify, or during which food must be kept in storage until it is found to be safe. In this project,we are working to shorten that time interval by applying a very sensitive detection method to measure the factors in bacteria that cause (disease 'virulence factors').
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These include the toxins produced by these bacteria,the surface properties which separate disease-causing strains from benign strains, and the genes present in the bacteria which give them the capacity to cause disease. A method has been developed which uses the blood clotting system, which is a very efficient mechanism to produce clots which prevent bleeding, to measure these bacteria. By labeling the virulence factors with a snake venom protein that activates clotting and using a sensitive clotting assay, the detection of low number of virulent bacteria will be possible.
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Meat, Poultry, Game