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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

USDA-ARS partners PathoGenetix on identifying food borne outbreaks

Anthony Nwakaegho/NaijaAgroNet

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and PathoGenetix have signed an agreement to evaluate the company’s Genome Sequence Scanning (GSS) technology for use in identifying strains of Shigatoxin-producing E. coli (STECs) and Salmonella enteric which are two types of pathogens frequently implicated in food borne outbreaks.

The Chief Executive Officer, PathoGenetix, Ann Merrifield stated this in a release sighted by NaijaAgroNet and noted that the ability to quickly and accurately identify these pathogens, particularly in their most virulent forms, can have significant public health and financial impact for consumers, farmers, ranchers,  agricultural and food industries.

 “As we work to deliver a fully automated resolution system for rapid and effective pathogen strain typing next year, we are pleased to partner with USDA-ARS to demonstrate the speed and effectiveness of the GSS technology, particularly in differentiating the most virulent pathogens that pose the greatest challenges to food safety and public health investigations,” Ann Merrifield said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that under the agreement, USDA-ARS and PathoGenetix researchers will analyze the strains, both as isolates and in mixed cultures, using PathoGenetix’s Genome Sequence Scanning™ (GSS™) technology, currently in development for commercial use as the Resolution Microbial Genotyping System, while the  results of the joint analysis would  assist USDA-ARS in evaluation of the Resolution System as a platform for rapidly identifying pathogenic Salmonella and E. coli in food samples.

The release also confirmed that Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) and Salmonella enterica are an important U.S. public health concern, causing an estimated 1.2 million cases of food borne illness each year while six additional STEC serogroups are now considered adulterants in certain beef products.

PathoGenetix’s GSS technology it further said identifies microbial DNA from complex mixtures or from isolates, and automates the process from sample preparation through data analysis to provide actionable information in five hours.

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