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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND VALIDATION OF STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FOR MEASURING MICROBIAL POPULATIONS FOR ESTIMATING A POSTMORTEM INTERVAL

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To determine the practicality and usability of biochemical analysis and pyrosequencing technologies for determining bacterial succession on decomposing remains (e.g. animal carcasses, waste management). We will validate the standard operating procedures for sampling and analyzing microbe populations, as it relates to animal production and consequently food safety.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Use molecular methods to characterize microbial succession and assess microbial–arthropod interactions for understanding insect arrival sequence, utilization, and relevant bacterial dispersal potential; assess arthropod influence on microbial communities and microbial mediation of arthropod behavior on decomposing resources. These techniques will help assess the influence of microbial communities on decomposing carcasses and the effect of waste management practices in food animal production.


3.Progress Report:

The goal of this project is to determine pathogenic bacteria progression on decomposing vertebrate carcasses. In FY 2012, vertebrate reservoirs (carcasses) were placed into appropriate holding facilities constructed by project personnel and data were collected from the invertebrates attracted to/associated with the carcasses. All sampling protocols were finalized in FY 2012, and the initial data analysis investigating the spread of pathogenic bacteria is underway. As work on the project progresses, it is expected that new technology and best practices will be developed for use by poultry and livestock personnel in application of proper waste management practices for the disposal of food animal waste and including whole animal carcasses. Such practices will reduce the spread of pathogenic and animal health bacteria in food animal production, thus enhancing food animal production efficiency and profitability, and enhancing microbial safety of meat products reaching the consumer.


Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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