Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND GENOMICS OF FOODBORNE PATHOGENS Title: Tracing pathogens in fruit and vegetable production chains

Author
item Mandrell, Robert

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 2, 2010
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and year-round availability of many produce commodities has led to increased consumption in the United States and other western countries. Increased consumption, however, has correlated with a rise in the number of foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce (e.g. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and leafy greens; Salmonella enterica and tomatoes, cantaloupe/melons, peppers; norovirus). Although there are logical sources of pathogens, definitive explanations of how contamination occurs have been lacking. Biotic or abiotic processes linking primary pathogen reservoirs to fields (e.g. wildlife, water, dust) are dynamic and difficult to identify. Tracking reservoirs and movement of pathogens in the environment require intensive sampling and accurate fingerprinting/genotyping. Fresh produce outbreaks associated with enteric pathogens, their sources and fitness in the environment, will be presented along with methods for tracking pathogens and outcomes from recent investigations. Next generation DNA sequencing and genomics methods being developed will enhance microbial source tracking studies in complex produce production environments.

Technical Abstract: The health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and year-round availability of many produce commodities has led to increased consumption in the United States and other western countries. Increased consumption, however, has correlated with a rise in the number of foodborne outbreaks associated with fresh produce (e.g. Escherichia coli O157:H7 and leafy greens; Salmonella enterica and tomatoes, cantaloupe/melons, peppers; norovirus). Although there are logical sources of pathogens, definitive explanations of how contamination occurs have been lacking. Biotic or abiotic processes linking primary pathogen reservoirs to fields (e.g. wildlife, water, dust) are dynamic and difficult to identify. Tracking reservoirs and movement of pathogens in the environment require intensive sampling and accurate fingerprinting/genotyping. Fresh produce outbreaks associated with enteric pathogens, their sources and fitness in the environment, will be presented along with methods for tracking pathogens and outcomes from recent investigations. Next generation DNA sequencing and genomics methods being developed will enhance microbial source tracking studies in complex produce production environments.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page