Scientists in India figure out how Salmonella infect plants

Sunderarajan Padmanabhan of Biotech Times writes that E. coli and Salmonella bacteria are the most common causes of food poisoning. Although most Salmonella outbreaks are linked to contamination during handling and transportation of the vegetables, there are also cases where the infectious bacterium had entered the plant when it was still in the farmland.

A new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, has solved the mystery.

They have found that unlike other disease-causing bacteria that enter the root, fruit or leaf by producing enzymes to break down the plant’s cell wall, Salmonella sneaks in through a tiny gap created when a lateral root branches out from the plant’s primary root.

The researchers were studying how different types of bacteria colonize the roots of tomato plants. While other bacteria were spread across the root, Salmonella clustered almost exclusively around areas where lateral roots emerge. When a lateral root pierces open the wall of the primary root to spread across the soil, it leaves behind a tiny opening. They figured out that it was entering through the gap with the help of fluorescent tagging and imaging.

They also noticed that under same conditions a plant with a greater number of lateral roots harbored a greater concentration of Salmonella than one with fewer lateral roots. Similarly, when plants were artificially induced to produce more lateral roots, Salmonella concentration increased.

Tomatoes plucked from these plants also tested positive for Salmonella infection, revealing its ability to travel all the way up to the fruit. “It is just like a systemic infection in humans,” said senior author Dipshikha Chakravortty, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, IISc. The researchers have published a paper on their work in the journal, BMC Plant Biology.

Kapudeep Karmakar, Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, IISc, and first author of the paper, noted that there are several possible sources from where Salmonella can reach the soil, such as manure containing animal faeces or contaminated irrigation water.

“Various studies show that irrigation water gets contaminated by sewage water. When that irrigation water is applied in the field, the soil becomes the portal for Salmonella to enter,” he said.

13 sick: Some had eaten rakfish: — more affected by mysterious listeria outbreaks in eastern Norway

News Beezer reports that shortly before Christmas, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health announced that there had been six reports of a new outbreak of Listeriosis. Today it was known that this number has increased significantly and that the affected area is also larger than previously known

Typically, 1-2 patients with listeriosis are reported monthly. Four of the six patients reported in December come from Hedmark and Oppland. Now the infection has spread further and is increasing more and more.

A total of thirteen people have been reported with listeriosis. Most are located in the above circles, and Buskerud is now included in the list. It is common that they are older than 70 years and affect their general condition. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority works with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the Municipal Health Service and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to determine if patients can share a common source of infection. So far, five patients have detected bacteria with a similar DNA profile.

Stick it in: Thermometer use

Temperature control prevents the rapid growth of foodborne pathogens during food storage and assures adequate heating to destroy pathogens prior to consumption. The use of thermometers is a recognized best practice among consumer and food worker guidelines; however, compliance with this recommendation is quite low.

Eighty-five studies from the past 21 years were reviewed and an analyzed for the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors associated with thermometer use and the motivators and barriers to cooking and refrigerator thermometer use among consumers and food workers. Barriers to thermometer were categorized into two major groups: ‘‘the belief that a thermometer is not necessary’’ and ‘‘the difficulty of selecting and using a thermometer.’’ Each group has its unique aspects. Four barriers were recognized in the ‘‘not necessary’’ group: (i) preference for alternative techniques, (ii) mainstream media and food professionals seldom serve as role models and often negate the need for food thermometers, (iii) limited awareness of potential health issues associated with current practices, and (iv) limited knowledge and awareness related to thermometer usage for specific food groups.

Six barriers were recognized in the ‘‘difficult to select and use’’ group: (i) difficulties in selecting the type of food thermometers, (ii) availability of food thermometers, (iii) lack of skills related to the usage of food thermometers, (iv) limited knowledge related to endpoint temperatures, (v) inability to calibrate food thermometers, and (vi) lack of knowledge about food thermometer cleaning and sanitation. These findings will facilitate the development and adoption of effective strategies to increase thermometer use and increase food safety education efficacy with a positive impact on public health.

Motivators and barriers to cooking and refrigerator thermometer use among consumers and food workers: A review.

Journal of Food Protection vol. 82 noi. 1 pg. 128-150

Yaohua Feng and Christine Bruhn

doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-245

http://www.jfoodprotection.org/doi/pdf/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-245

A book that will make you terrified of your own house

That’s the headline in the N.Y. Times, but as I try to tell my 10-year-old (seen here with one of her older sisters as a 4-years-old after the skating coach told her she had to wear figure skates and not hockey skates, and I said, I’m Canadian, your wrong, and when was the last time Russian women successfully competed in ice hockey) there are microbes all around us, we just have to try and understand them.

I’m still convinced we are all hosts on a viral planet.

And I figure Schaffner should review this book, but he’s a busy dude, so I’ll do it.

From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live by Rob Dunn is a collection of the myriad microbial life-forms that take up residence in a typical American showerhead, I’m starting to think maybe that young man was onto something.

With an army of collaborators, Dunn, a professor of applied ecology at North Carolina State University, took samples of the gunk inside hundreds of showerheads, and found a profusion of microbial fauna. Tap water itself, he writes in the chatty, informative “Never Home Alone,” teems with amoebas, bacteria, nematodes and crustaceans. As the water passes through the showerhead, these microbes lay down a kind of scaffolding known as biofilm to protect themselves from getting washed away with every ablution. They make the biofilm “out of their own excretions,” Dunn writes bluntly. “In essence, by working together, the bacteria poop a little indestructible condominium in your pipes.”

It gets worse. Filtered through that poop-biofilm, the water that washes over you, as you supposedly scrub yourself clean, might contain not only all those harmless amoebas and nematodes but a few bacteria that can be dangerous — in particular some species of Mycobacterium, cousins of the Mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis. And the pathogens are there because we provided the perfect breeding ground for them, when we tried to purify our tap water in the first place. Municipal water treatment plants use chlorine and other chemicals that kill off the bacterium’s natural predators, allowing Mycobacterium to thrive. Tap water that comes from a well, in contrast, has never gone through a treatment plant and has a rich microbial life. It might look more dangerous, but it’s actually safer, Dunn explains. All those organisms in well water are themselves harmless, and they tend to fight off the potentially dangerous ones like Mycobacterium — that’s how biodiversity works.

News from the showerhead biome is just one part of this fact-filled, occasionally disgusting, slightly alarming book. Dunn has been involved in an obsessive quest to document the tiny inhabitants of indoor environments, a project that involves teams of professional and amateur bug-watchers to take samples not only from showerheads but from door frames, refrigerators, hot water heaters, cellars, toilets, pillowcases, all sorts of surfaces from the places we call home. These workers swab and seal, swab and seal, and send their thousands of samples to Dunn’s lab in Raleigh, or to his other lab at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, for an ongoing microbial census.

UK family still waiting for answers one year after E. coli poisoning

The Yorkshire Post reports parents of two boys who be­came se­ri­ously ill af­ter con­tract­ing E.coli 0157 sus­pected to be from beef burg­ers are still wait­ing for an­swers from su­per­mar­ket gi­ant Sains­bury’s more than a year later.

Al­fie and Oliver Maude, then seven and three, from Rich­mond, North York­shire, came down with up­set stom­achs two days af­ter eat­ing the Taste the Dif­fer­ence Aberdeen An­gus burg­ers in Oc­to­ber 2017. Al­fie was ad­mit­ted to Dar­ling­ton hos­pi­tal two days later with ex­cru­ci­at­ing stom­ach pain and se­vere de­hy­dra­tion.

He was then rushed to New­cas­tle hos­pi­tal for dial­y­sis be­cause his kid­neys were fail­ing. Both boys had de­vel­oped a se­ri­ous con­di­tion, hae­molytic uremic syn­drome, al­though Oliver did not re­quire dial­y­sis.

Both will have to un­dergo reg­u­lar check-ups well into adult­hood to keep an eye on their kid­neys.

Mother Vicci Maude said she and hus­band Steve were be­sides them­selves with worry as their boys “puffed up and turned yel­low”. She said: “When the con­sul­tant came in she said some chil­dren don’t sur­vive this – ob­vi­ously it was the hard­est thing I’ve ever had to hear. They still find it very stress­ful hav­ing to go back to hos­pi­tal and hav­ing blood tests. I just feel they (Sains­bury’s) need to take some re­spon­sibiity.”

Food safety at universities

Been there, done that, in 2003.

My partner likes to search Google academia.

For the 70 or so papers I produced, I get cited pretty much every day.

It’s a great testament to the team I put together, and how much we worked.

Sure geneticists have 200 papers, but if they scroll something they get their name added to the publication list.

When I went searching for a place to my PhD in 1992, I interviewed with about 40 departments, and was grateful that Mansel shepherded me into food science at the University of Guelph.

The most bizarre meeting I had was at the University of Waterloo in some sort of biological engineering department, and all the three profs cared about was what the publishing order would be on papers.

What assholes.

Background: Food and beverage sanitation hygiene is a prevention effort that focuses on activities or actions that are necessary to free food and drinks from hazards that can interfere with or damage health.

Objective: This study aimed to identify personal hygiene, sanitation and food safety knowledge of food workers at the canteen university.

Methods: This was a descriptive study with observational approach. Thirty-four canteens were recruited using total sampling. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics with percentage.

Results: Findings showed that 11 canteens (32.3%) did not meet the standard for canteen sanitation, 24 canteens (70.6%) did not meet lighting standard, 29 (85.3%) did not meet ventilation standard, 18 (52,9%) did not meet the standard of clean water, 31 (91.2%) did not meet wastewater disposal standard, 23 (67.6%) did not meet the hand washing facility standard, 25 (73.5%) did not meet standard of waste disposal conditions, 28 respondents (85.3%) had good personal hygiene, 6 respondents (14.6%) had poor personal hygiene and all food workers had good knowledge on food safety (100%).

Conclusion: Personal hygiene, sanitation and food safety at the university canteen must be carried out continuously. Our findings can be used as a basis for creating healthy university canteen.

Personal hygiene, sanitation and food safety knowledge of food workers at the university canteen in Indonesia

Public Health of Indonesia, Volume 4, Number 2, 2018

Abdul Rahman, Ramadhan Tosepu, Siti Rabbani Karimuna, Sartiah Yusran, Asnia Zainuddin, Junaid Junaid

http://stikbar.org/ycabpublisher/index.php/PHI/article/view/219

Yup An evaluation of the effectiveness of a university’s food safety training for hospitality service workers

Lisa Mathiasen1, CASEY J. JACOB2 and Douglas A. Powell2

1Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

2 Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

Abstract

For the 500,000 Canadians employed by the food service industry, effective food safety information delivery is necessary. This research considered the effectiveness of food safety information provided to food handlers at the University of Guelph in Ontario. In-depth interviews were conducted with four of the University’s food service managers and the manager of Health and Safety to determine existing methods of food safety training and the knowledge and attitudes of managers regarding food safety. Managers’ perceptions of barriers to effective implementation of safe food handling behaviors by employees were also identified, and tools to overcome the perceived barriers were offered. Non-managerial food service employees at the University were surveyed to assess food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices.

It was found that the food safety training program used at the University of Guelph in the spring of 2003 provided an unbalanced overview of issues important to the safety of food. The study also found that managers and employees were familiar with four particular foodborne pathogens and the familiarity may be attributable to media coverage of foodborne illness outbreaks involving those pathogens. Self-contradictory attitudes of managers were identified, as well as manager misperceptions of employee attitudes. Communication of food safety concepts at the University of Guelph and other foodservice institutions may be enhanced through comprehensive food safety training programs, use of media stories as training tools, awareness of contradictions between manager attitudes and actions, and interactive communication between managers and employees.