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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Technologies for Detection and Mitigation of Undesirable Organisms Associated with Food

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The first objective of this research is to develop detection technologies for foodborne pathogens. The second objective is to validate the use of electron accelerator irradiation as a sterilization method to control populations of undesirable organisms in food.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. Develop high quality monoclonal antibodies against toxin-producing bacteria. 2. Develop new assays for toxin-producing bacteria using immunological methods that can be used to solve practical problems facing the food industry and regulatory agencies. 3. Develop multiplex assays (antibody chips and immune-PCR) for simultaneous detection of multiple pathogens. 4. All results obtained will compare to conventional culture method and PCR results. 5. Using non-pathogenic E. coli K-12 strains as surrogates to observe the radiation sensitivity of the most common pathogens encountered in ground beef, milk, egg, fruits and vegetables. 6. Specific product loading pattern will be determined based on the results obtained from experiments. These results include: orientation of the product with respect to the conveyor flow and electron beam, unit count within the package, package dimensions and mass, the orientation of product within the package, and acceptance variations in these parameters. 7. The zone of minimum and maximum dose within a product load will be identified and the reproducibility of the process will be assessed. This information will be then used in selecting the dose monitoring locations for routine processing. 8. Evidence will be obtained to show that the finished product is accepted for its intended use after exposure to radiation. 9. The ability of the finished product to remain acceptable for intended use throughout its shelf life after exposure to the maximum radiation dose will be demonstrated. 10. Pathogens for biological validation will use E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. 11. To ensure the safety of food packaging materials exposed to irradiation will be selected to comply with FDA 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 179.


3.Progress Report:

Scientists from Western Regional Research Center in Albany, CAalifornia, visited SSIT in October 2012. The company is associated with the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, which partially funded the visit. Procedures have been developed for effective decontamination of blueberries using electron-beam treatment. This treatment reduces E. coli contamination and extends the shelf-life of the fruit. The research progress reported relates to objective 1: "Develop new assays for bacterial toxins and their variants, using immunological and other methods, with emphasis on applicability to practical problems facing the food industry and regulatory agencies" of the parent project.


Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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