Knowledge for Development

New test can precisely pinpoint food pathogens


Date: 12/01/2012


A new approach, reported by a collaborative team led by Cornell University scientists, will enable government agencies and food companies to pinpoint the exact nature and origin of food-borne bacteria with unprecedented accuracy. The standard method of tracing food-borne illness involves breaking up the DNA of bacteria samples into smaller pieces and analyzing their banding patterns. But scientists often find that different strains of bacteria have common DNA fingerprints that are too genetically similar to be able to differentiate between them. To surmount this challenge, Martin Wiedmann and colleagues adopted a genomic approach. The use of genome sequencing methods to investigate outbreaks of food-borne bacterial diseases holds great promise as it can help to identify the temporal, geographical and evolutionary origin of an outbreak. Full genome sequence data may help to identify small outbreaks that may not be easily detected with lower resolution sub-typing approaches. (Cornell Chronicles, 24/10/2011)

» Visit this site