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Validation of the Effect of Interventions and Processes on Persistence of Pathogens on Foods


<OL> <LI> Elucidate the ecology (persistence, predominance,
behavior, and community analysis) of pathogens in various food matrices; specifically
focus on foods considered high risk by the stakeholder regulatory agencies (FSIS and
FDA), for example ready-to-eat foods, or foods with a short shelf life. <li>
and validate intervention strategies used either alone or in combination with other
processes for pathogen control. <li> Elucidate/define (including at the molecular
level) the pathogens physiological responses to various intervention strategies and
processes. Examine the influence of the inherent food macro and micro-environments.</ol>

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Microbiological studies will be conducted with commercial and laboratory developed
foods to determine how varying food matrices, processing environments, indigenous
flora, or conditions associated with food distribution alter the persistence,
clonality, or succession of food borne pathogens and threat agents. The
predominance, persistence, and succession of pathogens along the food chain and in
foods such as ready-to-eat (RTE) meats, dairy products and poultry products will be
determined using conventional and molecular methods to detect and track the
microorganisms. Studies will identify critical control points for the application of
interventions. Isolates that predominate and persist will be used for inoculated
package studies and/or will be evaluated for virulence potential. Food borne
pathogens or food security threat agents will be purposefully inoculated into high
risk foods (e.g. milk, RTE meats, and cheese) and pathogen viability will be
monitored throughout food manufacture and projected shelf life to quantify the
lethality of select food processes. Product processing conditions will be identified
and used to optimize pathogen destruction and food quality. <p>New and existing
microbiological and genomic/proteomic technologies will be used to delineate the
genes, proteins, and integrated physiological response networks expressed by food
with food processing and storage. The genes for the identified traits or networks
will be mutated and these strains will be compared to wild types to assess the
importance of the genes and related physiological traits for pathogen survival and
growth within foods.

Yan, Xianghe; Mukhopadhyay, Sudarsan; Luchansky, John; Liu, Yanhong; Goldberg, Neil
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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