BIOTRACER model tackles Salmonella

May 24, 2011
BIOTRACER model tackles Salmonella

Protecting consumers from contaminated foods is one of the most important objectives of the EU. Helping drive this effort is the BIOTRACER ('Improved bio-traceability of unintended microorganisms and their substances in food and feed chains') project, which received EUR 11 million under the 'Food quality and safety' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Program (FP6) to probe the main sources of contamination.

Salmonella infections, for example, are not uncommon in cases of food-borne gastroenteritis in people. Eggs, and meat may be involved in triggering such infections. Experts believe that at least 2 in 20 people diagnosed with salmonellosis 'catch it' from contaminated pork products. The latest development in the BIOTRACER project is a tool for modelling and predicting the growth of in the pork chain supply. This tool is presented in the International Journal of Microbiology.

The BIOTRACER consortium, which consists of 47 research, academic and industry experts from 22 countries, said that identifying the source of to a specific supply chain stage is no easy task. The main problem is determining how the bacteria grow at various stages and under diverse .

Leading the development was the BIOTRACER partner, the Institute of Food Research in the United Kingdom. Working together with Greek and Italian experts, the group created a model demonstrating how each step in the production process affects Salmonella growth.

The growth and survival of Salmonella is contingent on various factors including pH conditions, water activity and temperature, which change during the pork processing stages, according to the partners. The team pointed out that information about Salmonella growth in diverse conditions was generated by many researchers and compiled in different databases. Combase, developed by the Institute of Food Research in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service and the Food Safety Centre in Australia, is such a database, an open-access repository for quantitative microbiological data.

The BIOTRACER partners found more than 700 records in the Combase database describing Salmonella growth specifically for the supply chain of pork. They also combined various models to generate estimates on the concentrations of Salmonella at various stages of the pork supply chain, taking into account pH conditions, water activity and changes in temperature. A number of products were used to validate the estimates.

A unique feature of the models is that users can enter their own conditions and get an estimate of the Salmonella concentrations at various process stages. With this information, users fuel their understanding of what steps are needed in the supply chain of pork and contribute to the improved control of Salmonella and safe food production, project partners explained.

Explore further: For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

More information: Pin, C., et al. (2011) Intl Jrnl of Food Microbiology 145: 96-102. DOI:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.09.025.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Salmonella causes illnesses in 14 states

Apr 14, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said at least 23 people in 14 states were diagnosed with salmonella poisoning caused by the same contaminated cereals.

Salmonella: Tough to crack when it’s in peanuts

Feb 11, 2009

( -- For the second time in two years, a nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis has been tied to peanut products. This time, over 570 people have been sickened and over 1700 products have been taken off supermarket ...

Study puts over 2,400 food scares under the microscope

Mar 22, 2011

( -- As the increasing number food scares causes consumers to question the safety of everyday food items, researchers at Queen's University Belfast have completed the first ever analysis of all the food recalls ...

Recommended for you

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

11 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

Adventurous bacteria

12 hours ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

14 hours ago

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...