Montreal – Researchers at McGill University and Université Laval will receive close to $10 million over the next four years from Genome Canada and Génome Québec to study Salmonella.
But their focus isn’t on poultry.
Today many outbreaks of Salmonella come from fruit and vegetables that have become infected when the soil in which they grow is polluted by animal waste or non-potable water. There is currently no way of reducing the growth of Salmonella on produce.
So the researchers are going to work on identifying and finding a way to reduce the growth with natural solutions.
Dr. Lawrence Goodridge of McGill University, and Roger Levesque from the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (IBIS) at the Université Laval, are leading a team that is using whole genome sequencing to identify the specific Salmonella strains that cause human disease.
With this knowledge, says McGill University, the team will develop natural biosolutions to control the presence of Salmonella in fruit and vegetables as they are growing in the field.
The team will also develop new tests to rapidly and efficiently detect the presence of Salmonella on fresh produce before it is sold to consumers, as well as tools to allow public health officials to determine the source of Salmonella outbreaks when they occur. This way contaminated food can be quickly removed from grocery stores and restaurants.
Their work could potentially reduce the number of people infected with Salmonella each year (in Canada some 88,000 people each year are infected with Salmonella from contaminated food), and also reduce the economic costs of the infection.
Image of salad courtesy of patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net