Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lesser-known Escherichia coli types targeted in food safety research

Date:
May 2, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Almost everyone knows about Escherichia coli O157:H7, the culprit behind many headline-making outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States. But the lesser-known relatives of this pathogenic microbe are increasingly of concern to food safety scientists.

ARS microbiologist Pina M. Fratamico and her collaborators have developed gene-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assays to help identify and detect six newly important Escherichia coli species that are close relatives of E. coli O157:H7 (shown here at about 16,000 times normal size).
Credit: Peter Cooke, Colorization by Stephen Ausmus

Almost everyone knows about Escherichia coli O157:H7, the culprit behind many headline-making outbreaks of foodborne illness in the United States. But the lesser-known relatives of this pathogenic microbe are increasingly of concern to food safety scientists.

Related Articles


That's according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist and research leader Pina M. Fratamico. Researchers such as Fratamico, along with food safety regulators, public health officials and food producers in the United States and abroad, want to know more about these less-studied pathogens.

In the past few years, a half-dozen of these emerging E. coli species, also called "serogroups," have come to be known among food safety specialists as "the Big Six," namely E. coli O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145.

Fratamico and her colleagues are sorting out "who's who" among these related pathogens so that the microbes can be identified and detected quickly and reliably. The researchers are doing that by uncovering telltale clues in the microbes' genetic makeup.

Building upon this work, Fratamico and her Agricultural Research Service (ARS), university, and industry collaborators have developed gene-based PCR (polymerase chain reaction) assays for each of the Big Six. With further work, the assays might be presented as user-friendly test kits for use by regulatory agencies and others. Foodmakers, for example, might be able to use such kits for in-house quality control, while public health agencies might rely on them when processing specimens from patients hospitalized with foodborne illness.

Analyses of test results might help researchers determine whether certain strains of Big Six E. coli species cause more illness than E. coli O157:H7 does, and if so, why.

Fratamico works in the ARS Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens Research Unit at the agency's Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pa. ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA, and this work supports the USDA priority of enhancing food safety.

Fratamico has collaborated in this work with Chin-Yi Chen, Yanhong Liu, Terence P. Strobaugh, Jr., and Xianghe Yan at Wyndmoor; Connie E. Briggs, formerly with ARS; and others. Their findings appeared in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the Canadian Journal of Microbiology, and other scientific journals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Marcia Wood. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Lesser-known Escherichia coli types targeted in food safety research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121251.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, May 2). Lesser-known Escherichia coli types targeted in food safety research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121251.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Lesser-known Escherichia coli types targeted in food safety research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412121251.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins