Submitted to: Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2008
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Citation: Fratamico, P.M. 2008. The Application of “Omics” Technologies for Food Safety Research. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. 5. 369-370 Technical Abstract: In recent years, a number of “omics” technologies (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and others) have become available that hold promise for increasing the understanding of the complexities of pathogen behavior at the molecular level and for the development of improved pathogen detection and typing systems. Generally, “omics” technologies rely on the analysis of complete or nearly complete expressions of particular cell functions. For example, genomics is the study of genes and their function, transcriptomics refers to global analyses of gene expression, and proteomics is the study of the complete set of proteins produced by a species and their modifications, expression, involvement in metabolic pathways, and interactions. DNA sequencing initiatives have resulted in complete genome sequencing of a number of food-borne pathogens, including multiple strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and others, presenting extraordinary opportunities for understanding microbial ecology and physiology, diversity within species, and the evolution of pathogens. “Omics”-based tools enable researchers to explore complex biological processes in a quantitative and integrative manner via a systems biology approach. These methods of analysis are facilitating the identification of genes that are responsible for survival and persistence in specific environments, and revealing genes that are potential targets for interventions and that play a role in pathogenesis, stress responses, and biofilm formation. The knowledge garnered from “omics”-based research in the coming years will play an important role in understanding how pathogens survive food safety barriers and interact with host species. Each new advance in our understanding will give rise to improved and novel strategies for detection, identification, and control of food-borne pathogens, as well as for diagnosis and control of infections.