New Salmonella serotype identified

Friday, 23 January, 2015

Texan researchers have discovered a new serotype of the Salmonella bacteria. The serotype, discovered by a Texas Tech University research assistant professor, was confirmed by the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the international reference centre for Salmonella.

Convention dictates that a new serotype be named after the city in which it was discovered, so the new serotype will be called Salmonella Lubbock (or, more specifically, Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica Lubbock) after the university town of Lubbock, which was also the home of Buddy Holly.

“More important than the name, however, is that this discovery illustrates there is more that needs to be discovered about Salmonella and how it interacts with cattle populations,” said Guy Loneragan, a professor of food safety and public health at Texas Tech.

“With this understanding will come awareness of how to intervene to break the ecological cycle and reduce Salmonella in animals and in beef, pork and chicken products.”

Marie Bugarel, the researcher responsible for unearthing the new serotype, was working  to reduce Salmonella in food and improve public health. She focused on providing solutions to control Salmonella in cattle populations, which led to a better understanding of Salmonella’s biological and genetic make-up. Through this approach, Bugarel discovered a new strain that had never before been described.

“This discovery reinforces my feeling that the microbiological flora present in cattle in the United States harbours a singularity,” said Bugarel.

“Additional research will be performed to better describe the characteristics of this atypical bacterial flora and, more specifically, of the Lubbock serotype.”

Loneragan believes the discovery will see between 20 and 30% of two current strains - Salmonella Montevideo and Salmonella Mbandaka - being reclassified as Salmonella Lubbock.

Some of the strains of Salmonella Lubbock fall into the category of serotype patterns that are more broadly resistant to many families of antibiotics, furthering the need for more research on the subject. Human susceptibility to the Lubbock strains is unknown.

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