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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Selection of E. coli Surrogates with Attachment and Survival Patterns Similar to Those of Human Pathogens Associated with Produce

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Project Number: 5040-12630-005-20-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2014
End Date: Nov 30, 2015

In this proposed research, scientist will build on our previous studies of differences in environmental isolates of Escherichia (E.) coli (i.e., attachment and cell surface properties and genetic compostion) by determining specific properties of E. coli isolates that make them appropriate surrogates for produce-associated human pathogens. Studies will be conducted with pathogen contaminated manures or irrigation waters and behavior of indicator and pathogen in soils and on fresh leafy greens will be determined. Correlation of E. coli survival traits with those of produce-associated human pathogens in the same environment should provide insight into (1) traits important in surrogates that behave like produce-associated pathogens and (2) those important to survival of pathogens and indicators in association with produce, soils and irrigation waters. The goal of this project is to provide science based information on survival of pathogens and indicators when present in either applied manure or irrigation water.

(1) Identify indicators which can be used as surrogates for produce associate human pathogens. (2) Characterize the behavior (i.e. survival and transport) of the indicators in relationship to the pathogens in applied manures and irrigation waters. (3) Identify characteristics of indicators that are important to behavior as surrages for pathogens. (4) Identify novel indicators. (5) Compare survival of pathogen and indicators inoculated in manure or in irrigation water to determine the relative importance of those two methods of contamination.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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