University of Leicester researchers to tackle poultry poisoning

Posted by pt91 at Sep 09, 2011 02:25 PM |
Campylobacter jejuni, a major cause of food-borne infections in people, is to be investigated in 12 new projects that will probe this bacterium’s progress through the food chain.
University of Leicester researchers to tackle poultry poisoning

C.Jejuni. Credit: CDC/ Dr. Patricia Fields, Dr. Collette Fitzgerald (PHIL #5781), 2004.

Dr Christopher Bayliss of our Department of Genetics will work with Dr Michael Jones, a lecturer in microbiology and molecular biology of the University of Nottingham, on one of these projects. Their aim is the development of effective vaccines to protect both animals and humans against infections by Campylobacter.

The team at Leicester will investigate 'phase-variation', which is the process that allows bacteria to rapidly change their outer surfaces, to protect against alterations in the environment and to avoid clearance by antibodies. 

Campylobacter infection or contamination can potentially occur at any point during poultry production and food processing. The aims of this group of projects include identification of the key sources of the initial infection on farms; the common points of contamination; and 'weak spots' in the pipeline of infection where there is a high chance of eliminating bacteria from the food chain.

Funded by the BBSRC, the Food Standards Agency and Defra, a total of over £4M is to be committed in finding out more about the organism that causes over 300,000 cases of food poisoning a year in England and Wales, at an estimated cost of £600 million per annum, and how best to control it.

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