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Biotechnology for Food Safety Database

Gendel, Steven
National Center for Food Safety & Technology
Start date
End date
This project will continue to design, construct, maintain, and make available, through the Internet, unique databases containing information related to food safety, foodborne pathogens, and food biotechnology. During the past year, the major focus of this project has been on upgrading the existing web site, expansion of the allergen databases, and addition of information on probe and primer sequences for the identification of foodborne pathogens. The existing allergen databases were both expanded, and the expanded databases were posted on the web site. Links to the home pages of the major reference databases were included, and procedures have been developed for linking the individual listing in each database to the relevant accessions within the reference databases. The process of implementing these links will be one of the major goals of the project for the next year. An initial set of pages containing information on oligonucleotide probe and PCR primer sequences for the identification of foodborne pathogens were constructed. A number of additional pages will be added during the next year, and links to sites providing biochemical analysis of the oligonucleotides will be implemented.
More information
Work has begun to provide physiological information related to food safety. This will include updates and expansion of the data contained in the ICMSF book Microbiological Specifications of Food Pathogens, such as growth rates and D values. Four manuscripts have been published. Several additional publications are in preparation.

Biotechnology information plays an important role in food safety assurance through the development of new methods for pathogen detection and characterization and in the evaluation and tracking of transgenic foods. However, much of the information needed for these food safety applications is difficult to find, difficult to access, and difficult to use. Further, the most appropriate procedures for using genomic information as part of a safety or risk assessment are often not obvious or have not been validated. Therefore, it is important to develop an information resource that provides direct access to relevant technical data, data evaluation, and validation of techniques for applying these data to food safety assurance.

The Biotechnology Information for Food Safety (BIFS) Database is a unique food safety resource providing technical information that is not available in general purpose databases and procedures for applying this information to food safety assurance. This database provides access to, and independent evaluation of, published DNA sequences for the detection and identification of food-related microbes; allergen protein sequences; methods for assessing the potential allergenicity of new food proteins; and other technical data related to food safety.

Project number
Predictive Microbiology
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication