Long-term objectives of this Food Safety research program are to develop approaches or methods to assure the microbial safety of food from the farm (or ranch) to the table. Results from this project should not only improve the ability to provide safe foods for residents of Oklahoma but for the entire nation. <P>The primary focus will be on the production, processing, and testing to assure safety of the foods. <P>Specific objective are as follows: <OL> <LI>To evaluate transport trailers as source of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and species of Salmonella in stocker cattle arriving at feedlots; to further characterize, through Riboprint tests, cultures of E. coli 0157:H7 isolated from different cattle transport trailers to determine if they are related.<LI>To evaluate the efficacy of electrolyzed water as a treatment of beef carcasses to reduce the microbial flora and extend shelf life. <LI>To develop a bio-sensor to detect Escherichia coli by combining dielectrophoresis and surface enhanced Raman scattering. <LI> To type strains of Listeria monocytogenes based on gene content using DNA macroarrays and functional analysis of virulence mechanisms based on the expression of select virulence genes. <LI> To compare the inhibitory action toward Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis of oil and aqueous extracts from two varieties (Turkish and Spanish) of field grown oregano and to evaluate micelles prepared from oregano oil for inhibitory action toward Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella Enteritidis. <LI>To develop a lock and key diagnostic tool that allows us to trace the origin (vegetative cell) of a bioterrorism agent (toxin) using Staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcal enterotoxin as a model. <LI>To produce abnormal prion protein through recombinant genetic technology for use in development of sensitive method for detection of the abnormal prions in meat or animal by-products. <LI>To develop and test immunoPCR based technique for rapid detection of peanut/nut and other food based allergens and compare its sensitivity with commercially available testing kits.
Non-Technical Summary: Food safety and security of our food supplies is of great concern to the processor as well as for the consumer.New improved, sensitive, and rapid methods of detecting food borne pathogenic agents or allergens is high priority. This project is to develop improved, sensitive and rapid methods of detecting agents that might cause food borne illnesses. It also has some focus on controlling food borne pathogens in foods. The overall purpose of the project is to improve the safety of the nation's food from the farm or ranch to the table. <P> Approach: The long term objective of this research project is to discover ways to improve the safety and security of the food supply of the nation at all steps from farm or ranch production through processing. Specifically we will focus on several short term objectives. We will continue to monitor cattle transport trailers for Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and to genetically type those cultures isolated to determine if they are related. In efforts to discover new ways to reduce the microbial load on beef carcasses we will evaluate the efficacy of electrolyzed water on the numbers of microorganisms on freshly slaughtered carcasses. Using a combination of dielectrophoresis and surface Raman scattering we will further develop and evaluate a biosensor specific for E. coli 0157:H7. Strains of Listeria monocytogenes will be compared to determine if variations in DNA macroarrays are related to virulence. Evaluate the potential of using water dispersible micelles of oil prepared from oregano as an inhibitor of food borne pathogens on refrigerated foods. A method to enable the tracing of staphylococcal enterotoxin and/or the producing organism to its source will be developed and tested. A recombinant genetic method will be used to produce abnormal prions to enable us to develop a highly sensitive method for detection of abnormal prions in meat or meat byproducts. Immunological PCR based technology will be used to develop a sensitive method to detect nut allergens in foods.