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Articles by Topic - Microbiology

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Departments: Microbiological Tests and Kits: The Latest Advances

It’s been almost a year since the E. coli outbreak that originated in Germany in May last year killed more than 40 people. The frenzy to identify the strain responsible — the relatively rare O104:H4 — helped point out the increasing need for rapid and reliable pathogen testing in the food industry.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Ozone-Treated Water Zaps Infectious Prions

Features: Ozone-Treated Water Zaps Infectious Prions

Infectious prions, the lethal microbes that cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in animals, can be eradicated with a technique that has long been used to inactivate pathogens in drinking water.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Do Nanoparticles Affect Digestion?

Features: Do Nanoparticles Affect Digestion?

Nanoparticles are routinely added to food products and used in food packaging, but the impact they might have on health is still not well understood.

Features: Expand Microbiological Data Progam, E. Coli Expert Urges

Rather than eliminating the 10-year-old Microbiological Data Program, which tests about 15,000 samples of produce such as sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, and cantaloupe for pathogens annually, the USDA should expand the program, said Alfredo G. Torres, PhD, associate professor in the departments of microbiology and immunology and pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in Texas.

Departments: Tools For Better Food Safety Testing

Is our food really safe? The plethora of contamination events over the past few years certainly begs the question. The first major contamination event occurred in 1998 when Sara Lee recalled 35 million pounds of various meat products. Recalls were pretty quiet for about eight years, and then…

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: New Method Detects Key Form of Botulinum Spores

News: New Method Detects Key Form of Botulinum Spores

Refrigerated convenience foods are growing in popularity, but they’re particularly vulnerable to a type of foodborne botulism caused by the form of the bacterium known as non-proteolytic Clostridium botulinum. That’s because, unlike the proteolytic strain, non-proteolytic C. botulinum can grow and produce toxin at refrigerated temperatures.

News: Scientists Crack Listeria Mystery

Scientists at University College in Cork, Ireland, have deciphered at least part of the puzzle behind Listeria’s virulence and unpredictability.

thumbnail image: thumbnail for: Imaging Tool Speeds Up <em>Campylobacter</em> Detection

News: Imaging Tool Speeds Up Campylobacter Detection

Using a combination of digital imaging and spectroscopy known as hyperspectral imaging, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found a way to distinguish Campylobacter from other microorganisms within 24 hours.

News: Antibacterial Paper Could Extend Shelf Life

A new paper that inhibits the growth of bacteria in food products could extend product shelf life and protect consumers from bacteria-causing foodborne illnesses. Overcoming the concerns associated with earlier antibacterial materials, this paper is nontoxic, environmentally friendly, and low in cost. The relatively simple processing of this antibacterial material suggests it may be commercially viable for food packaging methods in the near future.

News: Novel Mechanism Found to Affect Salmonella Virulence

Scientists at the University of Washington have discovered a mechanism that may explain part of the organism’s ability to respond to inhospitable conditions. By selectively altering its production of proteins in a manner not previously recognized, Salmonella can change both its susceptibility to antibiotics and its level of virulence.

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August/September 2014

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