This technology can detect such important food-associated bacteria as Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens, responsible for diarrheal illnesses; Bacillus cereus, responsible for gastrointestinal illness characterized by vomiting and diarrhea, and often referred to as stomach flu, and Clostridium botulinum, which causes toxin-induced botulism, characterized by paralysis.
Further studies are needed to define the pigment bearing cell response to other important bacteria of concern, such as E. coli O157:H7 and Listeria, Trempy said. Research is also needed to immortalize a pigment bearing cell line for mass production and commercial use. These advances should be possible and progress is being made on both issues in continuing research, she said.
It's possible, Trempy said, that portable kits could be developed that would not require specialized training to use. Results would be available in minutes, convenient and would allow food processors, distributors, handlers, or even consumers to quickly assess food for contaminating bacterial toxicity.
Several OSU graduate and undergraduate students assisted on this research and the recent peer reviewed publication. The Department of Homeland Security, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Dr. Harry B. and Ralph H. Levey Philanthropic Fund, and the Tartar Foundation supported the student research fellowships.
|Contact: Janine Trempy|
Oregon State University