Nutrition Scientists Build New Tool To Trace Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes

Sep, 2021 - By WMR

Nutrition Scientists Build New Tool To Trace Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes

A new geological and genomic mapping tool developed by nutritionists makes it easy to trace the foodborne illnesses caused by Listeria monocytogenes.

According to a study published in July 2020 in Nature Microbiology, listeria monocytogenes and related species that reside within the soil helps to track and identify soil borne sources of Listeria mononcytogenes in buildings, food processing plants and finished products. Risk of getting listeria in different soils and areas is increasing. Hence, nutritionists of Cornell Group developed a more systematic way of testing the frequency of diseases in different areas.

Listeria mononcytogenes in the diet can make people very sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year 1,600 people in the U.S. get listeriosis; of those, about 260 die. Recognizing that listeria occurs naturally in the soil, scientists from the Cornell Group obtained soil samples from less disturbed areas of the natural world, such as offshore areas and national parks. From these samples, the group developed a national atlas of 1,854 isolated listeria, representing 594 species and 12 families of viruses called phylogroups.

The purpose of this work was to systematically collect global samples from all over the world, and to capture the true distribution of large areas, genetic diversity and the formation of listeria species in the environment in a complete sequence of genes and a complete analysis of human genomics. The bacterium is mainly controlled by soil moisture, salt absorption and molybdenum, which is a compound of minerals found in grains milk, legumes, cheese, leafy vegetables and organic meat. Bacterial genome is an important open question in the field of microbiology that could serve as a reference for future genomic studies. These could also benefit the food industry by detecting listeria contaminants that have a natural origin. If listeria is found in a processing centers, food inspectors can better reduce origin in a particular region and the same data can be used to traceback the bacterium through evidences of regional origins.

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