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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.

Features: Food Microbiology Marches On

Napoleon wanted to conquer the world, but he knew, as his famous quote aptly states, “an army travels on its stomach.” To be sure his men had safe rations, he offered a 12,000-franc prize to anyone who could come up with a food preservation method. Nicolas Appert, the chef and distiller who ultimately claimed the prize, spent more than a decade discovering that boiled foods placed in airtight glass containers would not spoil. In 1810, Peter Durand, a British merchant who received a patent for...

News: Gene Boosts Shelf Life in Tomatoes

Adding a yeast gene to tomatoes increased production of a compound that slows aging and delays microbial decay, researchers at Purdue University reported. High levels of the polyamine spermidine increased the shelf life of tomatoes and may do the same for other fruits, allowing delivery of fresh fruits to areas they do not normally reach, the researchers suggested.

Features: Rapid Micro Rolls On

This article on the history and impact of advances in rapid food microbiology is the second in a new series for Food Quality. In “FoodTech: Tools That Changed the Industry,” we look at various technologies and tools, such as rapid microbiological testing, that have played a key role in and had an indelible impact on the food industry.

News: Study Sheds Light on Salmonella

New research from the Volcani Center in Israel reveals that the pathogenic bacteria Salmonella enterica can sense, swim toward, and enter open stomata in a lettuce leaf during photosynthesis. The discovery, published in the October issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, has important implications for food safety and may partially explain why it’s so difficult to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness by disinfecting fresh produce.

News: New Findings on Listeria

New discoveries about the mechanism of spread between cells of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes could shed light on a host of other bacterial illnesses with similar patterns of infection. Listeria can cause serious illness in immunocompromised people and spontaneous abortion in pregnant women. In addition to infecting humans and animals, it can also grow on vegetables.

Features: Pushing the Rapid Micro Envelope

Back in the 1970s, cop shows like “S.W.A.T.” would sometimes refer to the bulletproof vests that police officers wore. These days, you don’t hear much about bulletproof vests—now they’re called body armor or bullet-resistant vests because none of them are completely bulletproof. Tom Weschler feels the same way about the term “rapid microbiology” when it comes to pathogen detection. “Most of the current systems really aren’t that rapid,” said...

Features: Validating Microbiology

The H2N2 virus of the late 1950s was fully transmissible among humans. It circulated in humans and caused annual epidemics until 1968, when it vanished after the emergence of influenza A/H3N2 viruses that caused the next pandemic.

Departments: The Ionic Silver Lining

Bacterial contamination of plant surfaces is a constant concern for the food processing industry. One specific bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, accounts for 2,500 cases of illness and 500 deaths annually in the U.S., making it the bacteria of greatest concern for ready-to-eat (RTE) processors today. In 1998, one of the largest outbreaks of Listeria occurred with a large U.S. hot dog manufacturer and resulted in 15 adult deaths, six stillbirths and more than one million pounds of product recalled from the...

Features: Microbiology

The ever-emerging microbiology macrocosm is a moving target that has an integrated blend of pathogens, hosts and bug bionetworks that clearly define roles among food safety management; government, industry and consumers. While a host of complexities can make the bull’s eye of food safety a tough hit, unity among the food safety powers that be could be the silver bullet.

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August/September 2014

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