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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #311569

Research Project: Technologies for Detecting and Determining the Bioavailability of Bacterial Toxins

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research

Title: Natural food toxins of bacterial origin

Author
item Cheng, Luisa Wai Wai
item Land, Kirkwood - University Of The Pacific
item Stanker, Larry

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/28/2014
Publication Date: 1/22/2015
Citation: Cheng, L.W., Land, K.M., Stanker, L.H. 2015. Natural food toxins of bacterial origin. In: Cheung, P.C.K. Mehta, B.M., editors. Handbook of Food Chemistry. Berlin, Germany: Springer Berlin Heildelberg. p. 1-19.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: One in six people in the US acquire a foodborne illness each year. Food poisoning is a general term used to describe the physiological effects caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. The effects of ingesting contaminated food range from short-lived symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea all the way to paralysis and sometimes death. Many of the foodborne bacterial toxins have enzymatic properties that allow small quantities of toxin to exert potent physiological effects. Part of the challenge of sustaining a safe food supply is the ability to rapidly detect low levels of these toxins, and in particular, within a biological matrix. Development of useful assays suitable for analysis of complex food matrices is more challenging than traditional laboratory studies of toxin-substrate interactions in a buffer. This chapter surveys the current methods used to detect a variety of bacterial toxins, as well as explores recent research findings that show promise for adaptation to industry. Highlighted here specifically are three genera of gram positive pathogens that cause foodborne illness through the action of toxins produced while growing in food -- namely Bacillus, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium-what is understood about their pathogenesis, the potent toxins they produce, and the efforts to accurately detect these pre-formed toxins in a biological matrix, specifically food. A special emphasis is placed on botulinum toxins, as they are the most lethal foodborne toxins to humans. Since the area of pathogen and toxin detection is a rapidly evolving one, there is also a discussion of a number of important factors one should consider when developing new diagnostics.