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The Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit conducts research on microbial pathogens which have been associated with foodborne illness.
Study of microbial association with the environment and food is essential for food safety.
A portion of the research involves investigation of microbial pathogens in the environment including soil, water, and animals both domesticated, and wild.
Field samples are brought to the laboratory microbial strains are isolated for study.
Microbial pathogens under study include isolates associated with known outbreaks, as well as samples collected in the field.
The Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit conducts fundamental and applied research to improve the safety of the nation's food supply. Molecular, biochemical, and analytical research approaches are used in understanding interactions between pathogenic bacteria and fresh produce and in developing novel interventions to remove or minimize contamination by these pathogenic microorganisms in foods. Genomic and proteomic methods are employed for detection, identification, and fingerprinting of multiple foodborne pathogens, and to assist in investigations and source-tracking studies of fresh produce production environments and associated risk factors. Our research will promote increased options to enhance food safety by producers and a safer food supply for the consumer.