The research at the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene (ILS) focuses on the following three areas:
- Epidemiology, characteristics, stress response and detection of foodborne pathogens
- Health hazards and microbiological monitoring systems in the slaughtering process
- Antibiotic resistances in microorganisms isolated along the foodchain
The research results of the year 2018 were published in 42 original peer-reviewed papers, 7 genome announcements, two book chapters, four doctoral and five master theses. Furthermore several contributions were presented at national and international congresses.
Epidemiology, characteristics, stress response and detection of bacterial foodborne pathogens
The long-term objective of our work is to enhance the safety of food originating from animals through the following: (i) an improved understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of foodborne pathogens and their transmission along the food chain (ii) phenotypic and genotypic characterization of strains to determine possible differences in their virulence (iii) an improved understanding of molecular stress response mechanisms in foodborne pathogens (iv) development and application of molecular methods for rapid detection and identification of foodborne pathogens.
Strict maintenance of good practices of slaughter hygiene in meat production is of central importance for the prevention of microbial carcass contamination in the interest of ensuring meat quality and health protection. In view of foodborne diseases the importance of latent zoonoses has increased in recent years: "healthy" animal represents a reservoir for specific pathogens; no pathological-anatomical changes in the carcass and its organs are found in the traditional veterinary meat inspection; and these pathogens may enter the food chain via hygienic weak points in the slaughtering process. To enable the risks involved to be estimated and appropriate measures to be taken, the objective of our work is to increase the knowledge by (i) collecting data relating the shedding of latent zoonotic pathogens by animals at slaughter; (ii) by longitudinal bacteriological surveys in the slaughtering line and (iii) by collecting data on the microbiological status of the carcasses
The worldwide increase of the prevalence of antibiotic resistant microorganisms in food is of growing concern and is designated by the World Health Organization as an emerging public health problem. The main objectives of our studies are (i) to determine resistance prevalence and resistance patterns of indicator bacteria and foodborne pathogens along the meat and milk food chain and (ii) to identify possible risk factors associated with the occurrence of resistances.