FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – A University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture research project will explore new ways to reduce Salmonella contamination of poultry, according to a university news release. The study will examine how effective certain antimicrobial treatments are in mitigating Salmonella and also conduct a genetic analysis of the Salmonella that survive the treatments.

A two-year National Research Initiative postdoctoral fellowship grant for $113,383 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been given to Sara Milillo, a post-doctoral research associate at the Division of Agriculture Center for Food Safety.

"Though this is an experimental system, the results could be adapted for use in poultry processing," Ms. Milillo said. "This future use could provide much-needed insight into the gene regulation of Salmonella existing on chicken surfaces."

Researchers will develop strategies to use safe antimicrobial treatments to further reduce foodborne pathogens on poultry upon completion of the project. Based on previous research, injured foodborne pathogens can become more virulent after surviving attempts to reduce their levels through the use of antimicrobial treatments. This project’s efforts will focus on determining the treatments’ effects on Salmonella virulence gene expression.

This research is expected to result in developing a safe and mild antimicrobial treatment that can reduce Salmonella on poultry in addition to establishing a method for determining Salmonella’s genetic response to stresses from various combinations of antimicrobial treatments.

"This research will be beneficial long-term to the food-safety research community in establishing a system for evaluation of new antimicrobial treatments for safety and effectiveness on a genetic basis," Ms. Milillo said.

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