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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #440948

Research Project: Analysis of Genetic Factors that Increase Foodborne Pathogen Fitness, Virulence, and Antimicrobial Resistance Transfer, to Identify Interventions against Salmonella and Campylobacter in Food Animals

Location: Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research

Project Number: 5030-32000-227-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Sep 9, 2021
End Date: Sep 8, 2026

Objective 1: Identify genetic features of Salmonella outbreak isolates that influence fitness and impact prevalence in food animals. Sub-objective 1a: Characterize unique genetic features of outbreak-associated Salmonella. Sub-objective 1b: Evaluate colonization, dissemination and persistence of human outbreak-associated Salmonella in turkeys and/or swine. Objective 2: Identify mechanisms of AMR gene transfer to food borne pathogens in poultry microbiota and test novel mitigation strategies to limit AMR gene mobility. Sub-objective 2a: Identify commensal members of the microbiota harboring AMR and contributing to AMR transfer in young birds. Sub-objective 2b: Test the efficacy of microbiota modulation at hatch to reduce AMR HGT. Objective 3: Develop and evaluate non-antibiotic intervention strategies to limit Campylobacter and Salmonella colonization, persistence and/or shedding in food animals. Sub-objective 3a: Test efficacy of dual-purpose recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine(s) (RASV) encoding Campylobacter antigens to reduce intestinal colonization of Campylobacter and Salmonella in turkeys. Sub-objective 3b: Evaluate the efficacy of in-feed treatments to reduce intestinal colonization of Campylobacter and/or Salmonella in turkeys.

The goal of this project is to address research gaps in high priority, food safety research areas involving the most common causes of bacterial foodborne illness in the United States, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Limiting Salmonella and Campylobacter colonization as well as AMR transfer in food-producing animals can reduce foodborne pathogen carriage into the human food chain, decrease environmental contamination, diminish the cost of meat product recalls to producers, and limit AMR transmission. Experiments are planned to: 1) investigate genetic features and fitness factors that contribute to the emergence of Salmonella outbreak isolates associated with food animal products, 2) identify, characterize and displace commensal members of the poultry microbiome involved in transfer of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to foodborne pathogens, and 3) develop and/or test non-antibiotic intervention strategies to reduce human foodborne pathogens at the first critical control point in the food animal production chain, namely on-farm colonization. Focusing on the ’who, when and how’ questions of these crucial food safety issues will support the advancement of applicable tools for targeted mitigations to control foodborne pathogens and AMR transmission, thereby providing the public with a safer food supply.