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Pathogen physiological state has a greater effect on outcomes of challenge and validation studies than strain diversity


Effective control of foodborne disease-causing microbes (“pathogens”) requires science-based validation of interventions and control strategies. For example, it is important to show that a given antimicrobial treatment can reduce bacterial numbers with a certain target efficiency, regardless of the specific genetic type of organism and regardless of the conditions under which an organism was grown prior to treatment. This is important, as it has been shown that Salmonella exposed to dry environments can be >100 times more resistant to some treatment (e.g., heat) than Salmonella grown in the presence of high levels of water. This project will assemble a collection of diverse microbes that are appropriate for validation of pathogen interventions in the produce industry, and will evaluate these organisms to determine whether and how exposure to different environmental conditions will affect the ability of these organisms to survive stressful conditions and control strategies. The resulting data, along with the bacterial collection developed as part of this project, will facilitate more reliable identification of effective control strategies that can reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses and pathogen contamination.

Wiedmann, Martin
Cornell University
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