1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Long term goal is to reduce the zoonotic transmission of food-borne pathogens in pork. The overall research objective of this proposal is to fill a critical information gap regarding the epidemiology of shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) shedding in swine.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
The approach is phenotypic and genotypic characterization of STEC isolates from longitudinally sampled swine.
Researchers at the ARS ERRC Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens Research Unit in Wyndmoor, PA collaborated with scientists at Michigan State University on a project to examine the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in swine and the epidemiology of shedding of these pathogens. This project was funded by the National Pork Board. A method employed involved screening enrichment of swine fecal samples for the genes encoding for the Shiga toxins and the intimin membrane protein by the polymerase chain reaction followed by isolation of the STEC strains from the enrichments. Hundreds of STEC strains were isolated from the fecal samples. The strains were confirmed as STEC, and they were be characterized to determine the presence of additional virulence genes and determine the serogroup. This research provided useful information to establish if swine are a reservoir for STEC, particularly STEC that are potentially highly pathogenic in humans, and the data from the research will help to reduce zoonotic transmission of these pathogens.