Submitted to: Advances in microbial food safety
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/25/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In recent years, a number of “omics” technologies, including genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and others are being utilized to enhance the understanding of the complexities of pathogen behavior at the molecular level and for the development of improved pathogen detection and typing systems. Generally, “omics” technologies rely on the analysis of complete or nearly complete expressions of particular cell functions. For example, genomics is the study of genes and their function, transcriptomics refers to global analyses of gene expression, and proteomics is the study of the complete set of proteins produced by a species and their modifications, expression, involvement in metabolic pathways, and interactions. DNA sequencing initiatives have resulted in complete genome sequencing of numerous food-borne pathogens, including multiple strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and others, presenting extraordinary opportunities for understanding microbial ecology and physiology, diversity within species, and the evolution of pathogens. “Omics”-based technologies enable researchers to explore complex biological processes in a quantitative and integrative manner via a systems biology approach. These methods of analysis are facilitating the identification of genes and proteins that contribute to survival and persistence in food and other environments, that play a role in pathogenesis, and that are potential targets for detection methods and for potentially for control strategies. However, challenges that remain are the capability to perform genomic and proteomic studies in food and other complex matrices and the ability to effectively interpret and analyze the large quantity of data produced from these types of investigations and use the information to enhance food safety.