SEM image of Campylobacter jejuni biofilm structure

SEM image of Campylobacter jejuni biofilm structure
Picture by Helen Brown (Research Group: Arnoud van Vliet)

Scientists within the Food Safety Centre conduct leading edge fundamental research on foodborne pathogenic bacteria.

Food can be the source of pathogens and there is a need for a resilient food chain to ensure the supply of safer and nutritious food to an ever-increasing population and to address unacceptable levels of human illness across the globe caused by bacterial foodborne pathogens.

Our research is predominantly concerned with elucidating at the molecular level how bacteria adapt to survive and multiply in the food chain and how they evade our defences to cause disease. Molecular epidemiology with regards to source attribution and characterisation of outbreak strains is a developing research area.

The research programme focuses on three major foodborne bacterial pathogens of the greatest concern in the UK; Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter jejuni and Clostridium botulinum.

Food Poisoning Infographic

Using multi-disciplinary research teams of world-leading experts in the fields of mathematical modelling, risk assessment and molecular microbiology, we utilise the organisation and analysis of complex data sets to provide quantitative descriptions of molecules, reactions, cells, cell populations, organisms, their environments and full food chains. Our research emphasises the use of large quantities of data and network methods for analysis in response to an increasingly data rich information supply that relates to the food chain.

A secure food chain is also vital. Scientists within the Centre are also focused on developing new methods to allow the food chain to be more robust with regards to authentication of products.

Recent research papers include:

Ramachandran V., Shearer N., Thompson A.(2014) The primary transcriptome of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and its dependence on ppGpp during stationary phase PLoS ONE 9 3

Carter A. T., Peck M. W.(2014) The neurotoxin gene cluster of Group II Clostridium botulinum type B4 is located on three classes of 47-63 kb plasmid Genome Biology and Evolution

Brown H., van Vliet A. H. M., Betts R. P., Reuter M.(2013) Tetrazolium reduction allows assessment of biofilm formation by Campylobacter jejuni in a food matrix model. Journal of Applied Microbiology 115 1212-21