September 25, 2018

Researchers Develop Patch called “Sentinel Wrap” to Detect E. coli and Salmonella Bacteria

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have developed a transparent test patch called "Sentinel Wrap" that can be incorporated into food packaging to monitor for pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. The patch, which is printed with harmless molecules that can detect food pathogens, would trigger a signal if it detects bacteria that could be read by a smartphone. The patch doesn't affect the food. The new material was developed in biochemist Hingfu Li's labs at McMaster. Chemical engineer Carlos Filipe and mechanical-biomedical engineer Tohid Didar collaborated on the project. The researchers say that the patch can be incorporated into the production process by food manufacturers. The patch contains tiny drops of DNA sensors that will light up when it finds a pathogen. … [Read more...]

Columbus State University Students Publish Breakthrough Study on Treating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Columbus State University Biology Majors have published a paper about their research on treating antibiotic resistant bacteria. The students were focusing on alternative therapies to treat Acinetobacter haumannii, which causes urinary tract infections, pneumonia, burns and wound infections, and septicemia. The World Health Organization has said that antibiotic resistant bacteria is a major public health concern and may cause millions of deaths in the future because of untreatable common infections. And in 2016, the CDC found that antibiotic resistant Salmonella causes more than 6,000 illnesses in this country every year. Those types of infections are linked to beef, dairy, poultry, produce, and eggs. The paper, titled "The Effects of Antimicrobial Peptides WAM-1 and LL-37 on … [Read more...]

Researchers at North Carolina State University Find Compounds That may Fight Listeria Bacteria

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found new compounds that "may be effective in containing the virulence - or ability to produce disease - of Listeria, a well-known bacterium that can cause severe food poisoning and even death." The research is a proof-of-concept study, which is an "early stage of clinical drug development when a compound has shown potential in animal models and early safety testing," according to the NCBI. One strain of Listeria bacteria, called monocytogenes, can cause serious illness in humans. The studies are used to estimate whether the compound may have significant efficacy in other diseases. The researchers know that inhibiting a certain enzyme that Listeria bacteria produces dramatically modify the bacterial cell surface. And this reduced … [Read more...]

E. coli Bacteria Infections: Bacteria Produce Toxin Protein to Defend Themselves

E. coli bacteria produce a toxin protein to defend themselves and kill off other bacteria, according to new research published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. There have been many E. coli bacteria outbreaks in the United States in the past several years, including the deadly outbreak linked to I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter earlier this year and the current outbreak at Damsy Restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota. And last year, researchers discovered a strain of E. coli bacteria that had the mcr-1 gene for colistin resistance. This is bad news because that change gives the pathogenic bacteria "near pan-resistance to last-resort antibiotics," according to the study summary. Scientists study this bacteria to see how it manages to survive even in inhospitable conditions. These … [Read more...]

New Insights on How Pathogens Escape Immune System

A new study at the University of Cologne is trying to decode how the pathogen Salmonella enterica escapes the immune system. And they found a mechanism the bacteria uses. There were 13,822 reported cases of Salmonella typhimurium in Germany in 2015. In healthy people, most recover without any treatment from antibiotics, but those who are considered "high risk" can suffer serious illness and even death. Those patients include the elderly, the very young, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and those with immune deficiencies. In those high risk patients, the bacteria cause damage to cells and can get into the bloodstream. If this happens, an infection called "sepsis" occurs, which can be life-threatening. Salmonella bacteria escape a process called … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Can Hide Inside Lettuce Leaves

A new research study from Purdue University that was published in the Journal of Food Protection has found that Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can hide inside the leaves of romaine lettuce. That suggests that traditional post-harvest sanitation practices "may not be sufficient to kill the potentially lethal pathogen." The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to recalled Dole salads last year was the sixth largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2016. That was the first Listeria outbreak linked to leafy greens, although that type of produce is  the most common culprit in food poisoning outbreak according to a National Institutes of Health study. Other Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning outbreaks have been linked to celery, cantaloupe, raw sprouts, and apples. In that … [Read more...]

Researchers Find One Mechanism for Antibiotic Resistance

A study conducted at Harvard and MIT and published in the journal eLife has discovered one way that bacteria become resistant to drugs. Individual mutations that increase pathogenic bacteria's resistance to multiple antibiotics has not been fully explored. About 23,000 Americans die every year from bacterial and fungal infections that are resistant to antibiotics. That number is expected to increase to 10,000,000 by the year 2050 if new, effective antibiotics are not developed. Scientist cultured the bacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, a cousin of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The scientists grew the bacteria until they formed colonies, and then exposed the colonies to low doses of antibiotics that killed the bacteria slowly. Mutant colonies arose after that … [Read more...]

UK Experts Urge Shoppers to Wash Hands After Handling Chicken Packages

We all know that raw chicken can contain pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter and Salmonella. But experts were more concerned with the bacteria on the inside of the basic plastic supermarket wrapping. Now experts in the UK are warning shoppers to wash their hands after handling these packages, since the bacteria could also be on the outside. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph found that the plastic exterior of more than 1 in every 100 raw chickens sold in Britain may have a potentially infectious level of Campylobacter bacteria. That means that 9,000,000 packages of chicken are sold with a "dangerous dose of deadly bacteria on the outside." When a shopper picks up a package of chicken, then snacks on food while shopping, they could get sick. Campylobacter is the leading … [Read more...]

Cornell Develops Processor to Destroy Pathogens in Food

Cornell food scientists have developed a new high pressure food processor to destroy food pathogens. This is the nation's first commercial scale validation facility for a technology that kills bacteria and extends the shelf life of fresh, ready to eat foods. It can be used on juice, baby foods, meats, and salads. The device is a Hiperbaric 55 high-pressure food processor at Cornell's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. It works by surrounding completed ready to eat foods in their packages with water. The machine applies isostatic pressure up to 87,000 pounds per square inch. According to Cornell, "that's more than six times the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench on Earth." More and more consumers want fresh, packaged, ready to eat … [Read more...]

Listeria May be Serious Miscarriage Threat in Early Pregnancy

New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in the journal mBio has found that Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning can be a serious miscarriage threat in early pregnancy. Scientists at the university's school of veterinary medicine studied how pathogens affect fetal development and change pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Ted Golos, a UW-Maidson reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology said, "for many years, Listeria has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, but particularly at the end of pregnancy. What wasn’t known with much clarity before this study is that it appears it’s a severe risk factor in early pregnancy. It's striking that mom doesn't get particularly ill from Listeria infection, … [Read more...]

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