Science - April 21, 2005

Test can identify resistant salmonellas

Researchers at Rikilt institute for food safety have developed a test which can see from the DNA of the pathogen salmonella whether it is resistant to antibiotics.

According to analyses, organisms that are resistant to antibiotics are increasingly often found in food. If these organisms are ones that make people ill, doctors are becoming increasingly powerless as their medicines do not work against them.

‘We examined salmonella strains that are found in humans,’ says Angela van Hoek. ‘We used DNA chips to see if we could show the resistances, and that worked.’ A commercial version of the test is not yet available.

Van Hoek’s project, the results of which will be published soon in the Journal of Microbiological Methods, is part of a project financed by the Dutch ministry of agriculture on pathogens that can be transferred from animals to humans, zoonoses. The project was coordinated by the Animal Sciences Group.

In their current project the researchers are examining resistances among non-pathogenic bacteria such as lactobacillus. Many lactobacillus strains are beneficial bacteria that possibly even improve health. The project is intended to determine whether lactobacilli can transfer resistance genes to other bacteria. / WK

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