Validation of Bioluminescent Escherichia Coli O157:H7 for Use as a Pre-Harvest Food Safety Model
Duoss, Heather Ann
CommitteeMartin, J. Mike
Cattle are naturally colonized by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli within the gastrointestinal tract. The most notorious of the enterohemorrhagic E. coli is E. coli O157:H7, which can cause serious illness to humans if ingested. To ensure that the United States has a safe food supply, research is ongoing in pre-harvest food safety and pathogen intervention strategies. While advances in pre-harvest intervention strategies are encouraging, no method has proven to completely eliminate and/or control O157:H7. A key limitation to successful pathogen intervention strategies is the inability to track and monitor pathogens in a real-time fashion. Through the use of bioluminescent plasmids harboring the luxCDABE cassette, pathogen tracking could be a viable solution. Bioluminescent plasmids are capable of facilitating the tracking, pathogenesis and physical locations of pathogens, thus enabling researchers to have a better understanding of the pathogenic process.