Technician Sharon Horn monitors robotic equipment
as it imprints Campylobacter microarrays on glass slides. Click the
image for more information about it.
story to find out more.
Genes of Food-Poisoning Campylobacter
By Marcia Wood
October 1, 2004
What's your favorite way to prepare
chicken? Whether you grill, fry, roast or bake it, as long as you cook it
thoroughly, you'll kill any Campylobacter jejuni food-poisoning bacteria
that may be on or in it.
But raw chicken juice, or raw or undercooked chicken, could harbor this
microbe and lead to campylobacteriosis food poisoning. In fact,
Campylobacter is thought to be the leading cause of bacterial food
To foil Campylobacter, Agricultural Research Service scientists in
Albany, Calif., and their colleagues at The
Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Md., have decoded the sequence,
or structure, of all of the genes in a specially selected C. jejuni
Investigations of these C. jejuni genes may lead to the discovery of
faster, more reliable ways to detect the microbe in samples from food, animals,
humans and water.
What's more, the gene-based research opens the door to simpler,
less-expensive tactics for distinguishing look-alike species and strains of
Campylobacter and its close relatives, so that culprit microbes in food
poisoning outbreaks can be fingered more quickly.
Finally, the studies may lead to innovative, environmentally friendly
techniques to circumvent the genes that make C. jejuni strains so
successful in causing human gastrointestinal upset and, in some cases,
paralysis or even death.
The research represents the first time that a C. jejuni strain from a
farm animal--in this case, a market chicken--has been sequenced. That
farm-animal origin is important, because chicken is the leading source of this
bacterium in food. Earlier C. jejuni genome sequencing, done elsewhere,
was based on a specimen from a gastroenteritis patient and was lacking key
features, such as the ability to colonize chickens.
more about the research in the October issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.