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A Study to Examine the Egg-to-egg Variations in the Growth of Salmonella spp. in Egg Contents

Institutions
Public Health Laboratory Service
Start date
2001
End date
2003
Objective
This research project will investigate the growth of salmonella in eggs.

A principal objective of the proposed study is to try and correlate the growth of salmonella in egg contents with critical elements of egg chemistry and biochemistry.

To this end, a range of measurements will be undertaken on egg contents, principally on egg albumen, including: measurement of iron, ovotransferrin and glucose in albumen, pH, albumen quality and yolk size.

Additionally, the study will investigate defined, isogenic and naturally occurring mutants of S. enteritidis and S. typhimurium to determine the bacterial factors important in the growth survival of salmonella in egg contents.

The effects of bird age in commercial caged layer flocks on the ability of shell eggs to support/control the growth of salmonella will also be examined.

More information
It is generally assumed that even at ambient temperatures (20°C to 25°C) the growth of Salmonella enteritidis in eggs will be minimal over a period of 3 to 4 weeks.

After this time there is the possibility of very rapid growth as the internal defence mechanisms of the eggs are broken down.

This delay in rapid growth is the basis of many of the current food management options for minimising the likelihood of contracting salmonellosis from eggs.

Although most research tends to support this delay of growth, there is some evidence to suggest that such a delay may not occur with all eggs.

In experiments using eggs artificially contaminated with S. enteritidis, rapid growth after only a few days has been observed in a small proportion of the eggs.

Research was required to investigate whether this rapid growth is 'real' (i.e. it occurs in naturally contaminated eggs) or is an artefact of the methodology used to artificially contaminate eggs.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
B03015
Categories
Salmonella