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J Dairy Sci. 2003 Jun;86(6):1865-75.

ADSA Foundation Scholar Award--An integrated science-based approach to dairy food safety: Listeria monocytogenes as a model system.

Author information

1
Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

Transmission of food- and milkborne pathogens often involves complex interactions among the pathogen, the environment, and one or multiple host species. A complete understanding of these interactions is critical to allow the development of science-based, effective intervention strategies for foodborne infectious diseases. This article summarizes our studies on the transmission, ecology, pathogenesis and population genetics of Listeria monocytogenes, which we have used as model for a food- and milkborne pathogen that infects multiple hosts and also has considerable ability to survive and multiply in nonhost environments. Application of molecular subtyping tools in conjunction with phenotypic characterization of selected strains has allowed us to define distinct L. monocytogenes subtypes and clonal groups that appear to differ in relevant phenotypic characteristics that may affect their abilities to be transmitted through food systems. For example, a genetic group designated as lineage I has been shown to be not only more common among human listeriosis cases than among animal cases, but lineage I strains also appear to show an increased in vitro ability to spread intracellularly from host cell to host cell. These findings are consistent with the fact that while genetically diverse strains may be classified to one bacterial species, these strains often differ from one another in important genetic and phenotypic characteristics. I thus propose that evolutionary- and molecular subtyping-based definitions of bacterial subtypes and clonal groups will provide critical insight into the microbial ecology of dairy food systems, including not only foodborne pathogens, but also organisms important for dairy fermentation and spoilage.

PMID:
12836921
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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