CategoryPre-Harvest Pork Safety
Date Full Report Received02/15/2010
Date Abstract Report Received02/15/2010
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Campylobacter are known human pathogens that are capable of causing disease ranging from diarrhea to serious neurological disorders. These bacteria are majorly transmitted to humans via consumption of contaminated foods. Furthermore, Campylobacter are highly prevalent in food animals such as chickens and pigs, where they occur without causing obvious clinical symptoms. Accordingly, controlling Campylobacter colonization of food animals would limit their transmission to humans, reducing infection episodes. However, due to their fastidious nature, Campylobacter are difficult to study using common laboratory procedures, which complicate control efforts. This warrants using new approaches that would allow sensitive monitoring and rapid characterization of these pathogens in their animal host. For this purpose, we generated bioluminescent Campylobacter strains, which emit light signals that can be monitored in live animals. This would facilitate colonization studies, clarifying the various stages that are involved in the onset and progression of colonization. We used these strains to study the colonization dynamics of Campylobacter in pigs. Our preliminary analysis was promising, showing the colonization of these pathogens in a pig’s gut. However, further analyses were complicated by the presence of endogenous Campylobacter strains in our test animals that competed with our bioluminescent strains and inhibited their efficiency for colonization. Currently, we are testing different approaches to eliminate indigenous Campylobacter from our test pigs. Our preliminary analysis indicated that the bioluminescent strains would constitute powerful tools for studying Campylobacter colonization of food animals.