Botany and Plant Pathology Seminar Series
Speaker: Dr. Bob Pruitt - Department of Botany and Plant Pathology - Purdue University
Topic: Salad, Salmonella and DNA sequencing: Tales of fresh produce and foodborne illness
When: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm in WSLR 116

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases of foodborne illness that have been traced to the consumption of fresh produce in the United States. While various hypotheses have been put forward to account for this increase, at the end of the day we do not have a scientifically sound explanation for why this has happened. In part this simply reflects the fact that we have a relatively poor understanding of the interactions that take place between plants and bacterial species that have not been characterized as pathogenic to the plant. Human pathogenic bacteria have largely been considered to be passive passengers when found on fresh produce, introduced through poor sanitary practices or the presence of wild animals. While there is ample evidence in the literature that human pathogens are able to enter the internal parts of plants where they continue to grow and divide, the view of these pathogens as transient passengers persists. Our research currently focuses on the bacterial community associated with fresh produce with a particular emphasis on how human pathogens can enter that community.

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