Wednesday, 25 August 2021

New national atlas for listeria

 

Among the deadliest of foodborne pathogens, Listeria monocytogenessoon may become easier to track down in food recalls and other investigations, thanks to a new genomic and geological mapping tool created by Cornell University food scientists.

 

The national atlas will tell scientists where listeria and other related species reside within the contiguous United States, which could help them trace and pinpoint sources of listeria found in ingredients, food processing facilities and finished products.

 


Listeria mononcytogenes in foods can make people extremely sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that each year 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis; of those, about 260 die.

 

Knowing that listeria occurs naturally in soil, the Cornell group asked hundreds of other scientists across the country to scoop up soil samples from generally undisturbed places in the natural world, such as the off-trail areas of state and national parks.

 

From these samples, the group developed a nationwide atlas of 1,854 listeria isolates, representing 594 strains and 12 families of the bacteria called phylogroups.

 

This work can serve as a reference for future population genomics studies and will likely benefit the food industry by locating listeria contaminations that may have a natural origin.

 

If listeria is found in a processing facility in the western U.S., for example, and that facility had used ingredients from a distant state.

 

See:

 

Jingqiu Liao, Xiaodong Guo, Daniel L. Weller, Shaul Pollak, Daniel H. Buckley, Martin Wiedmann, Otto X. Cordero. Nationwide genomic atlas of soil-dwelling Listeria reveals effects of selection and population ecology on pangenome evolution. Nature Microbiology, 2021; 6 (8): 1021 DOI: 10.1038/s41564-021-00935-7

 

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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