Researchers Breaking Down Relatives of E.ColiTue, 12 Apr 2011 17:54:36 CDT
Researchers at USDA’s Agriculture Research Service are working to learn more about the close relatives of E Coli O157:H7. There are six such pathogens currently under study. Researchers are sorting out "who's who" among these related pathogens so 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, Pina Fratamico and other collaborators have developed gene-based polymerase chain reaction assays for each of what they are calling 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 the Big Six E. coli species cause more illness than E. coli O157:H7 does, and if so, why.
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