1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
To develop DNA-based typing/characterization platforms for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Sequencing of the Escherichia coli O antigen gene clusters and development of genetic-based typing and detection systems. It will address the 60-month milestone for this project, Complete studies on development of genetic-based systems for typing E. coli and detection of non-O157 STEC, and develop methods for isolation of non-O157 STEC. This agreement will expand on our current research and will result in the development of methods to identify, detect, and characterize E. coli O157:H7 and non-O157 STEC, a critical need of regulatory agencies and the food industry.
3. Progress Report
Researchers at the ARS-ERRC-Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens Research Unit are collaborating with scientists at the University of Maryland and Applied Biosystems on research involving DNA sequencing of specific regions in the genome of E. coli strains, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The sequence data and publicly available genomic information are being utilized to develop rapid genetic-based based detection and identification systems for E. coli and for STEC strains. An ARS scientist is mentoring a graduate student at the University of Maryland who is working on this project. The detection and identification methods will be developed with the cooperation of scientists at Applied Biosystems into field-based testing kits. These test systems will benefit the food industry, regulatory agencies, and diagnostic laboratories. Methods used for communication and monitoring of progress included electronic mail, visits to collaborators’ laboratories, periodic telephone calls to plan research and discuss results, occasional conference calls, and sharing of research results by electronic mail.