Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit2008 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Research will address methods to determine the presence of pathogens in catfish/catfish products and to maximize elimination methods. Detection techniques will be developed to aid in processing and packaging operations, which should further enhance product safety. Specifically the objectives are: Optimize safety of aquaculture products through innovative processes for reducing microbiological, physical and chemical hazards in seafood/aquaculture products. Determine the mechanisms influencing microbial survival of selected pathogens in seafood/aquaculture products. Optimize the market value of seafood/aquaculture products through enhanced food safety and quality.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Develop and evaluate methods for detection and reduction of microorganisms, toxins and contaminants that could affect the safety of seafood/aquaculture products.
3. Progress Report
The ADODR collaborates with the cooperating principle investigators and has continuously monitored performance on this extramural agreement through personal meetings, telephone, and email correspondence to ensure that the project is progressing in accordance with the objectives of the agreement. Research related to control of pathogens in food products, in particular Listeria monocytogenes, is focused on developing strategies for reducing L. monocytogenes in catfish, seafood, and other meat products. New GRAS (generally regarded as safe) antimicrobials for control of bacterial pathogens in ready-to-eat products are being developed and tested for their effectiveness. Studies on the genetic and environmental determinants of virulence of L. monocytogenes have demonstrated that both genotype and environment play a role in the virulence of this important food pathogen. This information will be critical in developing tests and protocols required to control L. monocytogenes in catfish, seafood, and other meat products. A rapid, inexpensive antibody-based assay is being developed for detecting botulism neurotoxin. This assay will be useful for screening purposes. A luciferase reporter gene has been inserted into Salmonella enterica and selectively produces light in viable cells. This technique allows real-time detection of the bacteria at low levels and allows monitoring of bacterial progression under different environmental and chemical conditions. Bacteria numbers and bioluminescence correlated well in all strains. These research projects will play a role in assuring safe, high-quality food products to consumers and will be important to maintaining viable aquaculture and seafood industries in the U.S.