seeking food research proposals
Food Supply Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack, Experts Say
Robert Buchanan, a senior science adviser with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said mounting an attack on the food system would not require a great deal of knowledge or sophistication, and the result could be catastrophic.
The number of biological or chemical agents that could be used in an attack "is huge," Buchanan told the Institute of Food Technologists, which is holding its annual convention here this week. "I'm amazed how many agents are available over the Internet."
a January 2004 presidential directive, the government is trying to identify vulnerable
spots in the food-system infrastructure and also seeking help from American universities
to develop inexpensive but accurate rapid diagnostic kits, Buchanan said.
Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
Salmonella Typhimurium in four animal facilities
75 boys sickened at scout camp; food-borne virus suspected
Source of Article: http://www.gjsentinel.com/
KIOWA, Colo. ? State health officials said Thursday a food-borne virus may be the cause of an illness that struck 75 Boy Scouts at the Peaceful Valley Scout Camp overnight.One scout was treated at a hospital and released and 17 others chose to go home, but the rest remained at the camp and were recovering, said Cory McKee of the Boy Scouts' Denver Area Council, which operates the camp about 60 miles southeast of Denver.Lori Maldonado, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health and Environment, said investigators believe the boys contracted the Norwalk virus, sometimes called the cruise ship virus because it has sickened passengers on cruise ships.Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.
"Basically, you keep people hydrated and it runs its course," Maldonado said.Boys began falling ill Wednesday night. The camp remained open Thursday and health officials were on the scene, Maldonado said.About 300 Boy Scouts, mostly from the Denver area, are at the camp, McKee said. No staff members were affected, she said.
Technique Rapidly Detects Illness-Causing Bacteria
Cornell scientists have developed a rapid, cost-cutting and sensitive new technique for detecting food-borne bacteria that cause scarlet fever, or other bacteria like E. Coli.
Newswise ? Cornell University scientists have developed a rapid, less costly and sensitive new technique for detecting group A streptococcus, the bacteria that cause scarlet fever. Details will be announced today at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans. The presentation by Sam Nugen, a graduate student in Cornell's food science department, will focus on detecting the food-borne bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes), but the technique can be applied to a wide variety of bacterial pathogens, including Escherichia coli (E. coli).
The new biosensor works in a test tube and a positive result shows up as a red line on a strip, much like a pregnancy test. Newly designed software gives researchers a powerful tool for increasing the sensitivity of the analysis.The method may help researchers and companies that are in the business of tracking food-borne pathogens, allowing technicians to determine a source quickly. It may also help to analyze a throat culture swab, to tell if someone has an illness like strep throat. "We hope to see this technique commercialized, because it is very rapid compared to all the standard methods right now," said Nugen, the study's lead author. Nugen conducted his research in the laboratory of Antje Baeumner, Cornell associate professor of biological and environmental engineering, who is also a co-author of the study."It would be great if we came up with something that became a standard," Nugen added.Current biosensors rely on a time-consuming technique called gene amplification that requires costly equipment: Technicians take a piece of DNA from a sample and add enzymes that make many copies of the DNA. Duplicating or "amplifying" the DNA makes a pathogen easier to detect.
The new process starts with genetic material that is extracted from a food sample. This material, called ribosomal RNA (rRNA), is responsible for translating genetic information carried in DNA into proteins. Nugen designed the computer software that allows researchers to enter in an rRNA sequence, called a target sequence, that is unique to a specific microbe. The program then determines tiny sequences of complementary DNA -- known as probes -- that are exactly matched to stick to the rRNA target sites. These sequences are then reproduced as genetic material by a biotech company.
To test for the presence of scarlet fever-causing bacteria, a sample of rRNA is placed in a test tube with two of the manufactured probe DNA sequences, designed specifically to bind to the rRNA of S. pyogenes. One of these is called a "capture" probe, and the other is known as a "reporter" probe. The capture probe binds to the S. pyogenes rRNA and anchors it to a zone on a strip of membrane, while the reporter probe, which has a dye attached to it, sticks to another sequence of the S. pyogenes rRNA.
The probes attach to the target rRNA sequence when the test tube is placed in a water bath for about 25 minutes at exactly 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit). At that temperature, the complementary probe DNA sequence binds to the target RNA sequences. In a positive result, the capture probe attached to the rRNA target molecule anchors itself to a strip on a membrane. Since the reporter probe with a red dye is also attached to the rRNA molecule, as the material collects on a zone on the membrane, it turns the strip visibly red, much like with a pregnancy test. The entire process takes only 35 minutes, while traditional gene amplification techniques may take many hours.
early results suggest the sensitive method could detect fewer than 100 cells of
a pathogen in just half an hour. Nugen's software also compares a target site
with sequences from other organisms to make sure they don't overlap, which could
lead to a misdiagnosis. "You want to be sure it doesn't detect another organism
that shares similar properties," said Nugen. The study was funded by the
National Institutes of Health. Along with Baeumner, Barbara Leonard, a research
support specialist in Cornell's biological and environmental engineering department,
was also a co-author.
works to trace source of foodborne illness in Florida
Source of Article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/
South Korea, July 21 Asia Pulse - South Korean stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk
on Thursday implanted specially engineered fertilized eggs into cows that could
give birth to calves resistant to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad
The Seoul National University professor, who made international headlines by successfully cloning human embryonic stem cells in 2003, said the eggs were made by removing the normal nuclei of fertilized eggs and replacing them with the nuclei of a cow that developed a tolerance for BSE.
"The possibility that the cows will give birth to BSE-resistant calves is very small, but we hope for some positive results from the endeavor," he said.
South Korea has not been affected by the brain-wasting disease that can be transmitted to humans, but countries like Japan have reported 11 cases, he said. The discovery of a BSE-infected cow in the United States caused Seoul to halt imports of beef from that country from late 2003.
The expert said if a calf that is genetically resistant to BSE is born, it would have tremendous economic value.
- USA (New York)
of Article: http://www.newsday.com/
The source of the bacteria has not been determined. Tracking the source is difficult because the disease incubates for up to 70 days before the person gets sick, Morrow said. Listeriosis can be fatal, but severe symptoms are unusual in healthy adults and children. The disease most often affects pregnant women, newborns or people with weakened immune systems. In 1998, 16 people died in a multistate outbreak of listeriosis linked to contaminated hot dogs and deli meats, including a 75-year-old Liverpool woman.
Monitoring: Multiple Samples Mean More Reliable Results
The micro-organisms naturally present in normal conditions in a closed environment, are not evenly distributed in the air due to the fact that they are airborne by particulates. Several factors like moisture, temperature, electrostatic charge, light, U.V., air movement, human presence, etc. influence the airborning. It is therefore necessary to perform a microbiological air test that is really representative, to consider this element.
is suggested that, to obtain representative results of the natural microbial population,
two paired air samplers or a new generation two heads air sampler should be used
to have the possibility to calculate an average value. It is not a coincidence
that the microbiological standards for Good Microbiology Practice report that
the bacterial count test should be performed always in double to calculate the
average and to obtain the true value. We forget too often that biology is not
an exact science like mathematics!