E. coli bacteria. Image credit: University of Montreal
Hamburger disease, a debilitating form of food poisoning, may be a thing of the past. New findings from an international research collaboration conducted by the French National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA), involving the Université de Montréal are the first to show how the contaminating E.coli bacterium is able to survive in the competitive environment of a cow’s intestine by scavenging specific food sources. Published in this month’s Environmental Microbiology, and featured in Nature Reviews Microbiology, this study may lead to non-medicinal methods for eradicating this invasive bug.
“We studied E.coli O157:H7, which is the most prevalent species of bacteria associated with larger outbreaks,” says Josée Harel, co-author of the study and director of the Groupe de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses du Porc at the Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. “These outbreaks have been associated with direct contact with the farm environment and with the consumption of meat, raw milk and dairy products. Reduction or eradication of O157:H7 in cows will lead to a substantial decrease in food contamination and consequential human infections.” (more…)