The overall goal of this project is, by intensive molecular analysis of important human foodborne pathogens, to obtain fundamental information of value to all microbial food safety researchers. Comparative genomics approaches will yield discoveries that may lead to novel strategies for making a safer food supply. The objectives of this project involve analysis of human enteric pathogens by genomics and proteomics methods and the design of improved methods for sensitive detection, identification and characterization of pathogens. The data obtained will be valuable for microbial source tracking; and characterization of virulence determinants related to food production, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, and mechanisms of attachment, survival, growth and pathogen fitness on food. This project involves the molecular characterization of pathogenic strains of Campylobacter
, Escherichia coli
, Listeria monocytogenes
, and Salmonella enterica
. Comparative genomics of outbreak, clinical, and environmental strains will allow development of improved methods for identifying and discriminating pathogens. Because of the recent availability of Campylobacter
genome sequences, our major emphasis in this project will be to research relevant areas of Campylobacter
biology related to our objectives. The approaches we develop for the molecular characterization of Campylobacter
will guide similar work on other pathogens in pre-harvest produce models. This research will provide fundamental information for the development of novel methods to detect, identify, quantify and minimize human pathogens in food. Our specific objectives are listed below.