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Bioaerosol distribution and fate to ensure microbiological safety and quality in food and agricultural processing facilities

King, Maria
Texas A&M University
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The research will presently focus on the release and spread of potentially pathogenic and antibiotic resistant bacteria at meat, dairy and produce processing facilities, through on-site bioaerosol collection experiments and ventilation air flow pattern modeling. The work proposed here consists of four specific objectives supporting that overall vision:• Research Objective 1 (RO1): determine the levels and distribution of Shiga Toxin Producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella spp. (S. enterica serovar Enteritidis, S. enterica serovar Typhi) and Listeria monocytogenes in large air volume samples collected at the different facilities using the wetted wall cyclone (WWC) bioaerosol sampling systems (McFarland et al., 2010), microbial plating and molecular analysis,• Research Objective 2 (RO2): apply computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling to simulate the air flow patterns at the selected facilities based on their floorplan and HVAC design to determine their effect on the spread of bioaerosols,• Research Objective 3 (RO3): investigate how building design, aerosolization and environmental stressors affect the viability of the airborne pathogenic bacteria and activate antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in their genomes,• Research Objective 4 (RO4): create and validate a universal HVAC/building computational model that can be tailored for any facility based on their parameters to reduce pathogen entrainment and increase the sanitation of the final product.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Bacterial Pathogens