Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research
Project Number: 2030-42000-046-08-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Feb 15, 2012
End Date: Feb 14, 2016
The overall goal of the proposed project is to conduct research that will provide a science-based approach that will reduce or eliminate bacterial contamination of several produce commodities by Listeria monocytogenes. This will be accomplished by determining molecular mechanisms for the interactions between L. monocytogenes and leafy greens, sprouts, and celery. This will be done in four objectives: 1. Assessing 30-50 strains of L. monocytogenes for fitness in colonization of produce to identify strains for mutant library construction. 2. Identification of genes necessary for L. monocytogenes colonization of produce. 3. Identification of genes induced in L. monocytogenes during produce colonization. 4. Characterization of biofilms produced by L. monocytogenes on produce surfaces.
A panel of L. monocytogenes strains will be screened for fitness in colonization to several produce commoditites. Those bacterial strains that are most fit will be selected for construction of a mutant library. This library will be screened for resistance to various stresses incurred while colonizing a plant surface (e.g., oxidative stress), and the library will also be screened on various produce surfaces to identify genes necessary in L. monocytogenes for produce colonization. In addition a good colonizing strain of L. monocytogenes will be tagged with a chromosomally localized Green Fluorescent Protein tag in order to conduct real-time, microscopic observation of L. monocytogenes in bacterial biofilms present on produce surfaces.