jueves, 8 de octubre de 2015

Fear of the egg

The Australian problem with salmonella and the research to immunize eggs

Despite the fact that more than 4 million Australians become ill each year from eating contaminated food, the national rate of disease from this cause has decreased in recent years, except when talking about Salmonella.
A report by the Victoria's department of health shows that since 2012 has been a 65% increase of Salmonella cases, where only in the last 12 months about 2500 cases have occurred. Particular concern is the Queensland situation, where the Salmonella cases doubled compared to the previous year, representing the 75% of all cases in Australia this year.
The Salmonella infection can be caused by multiple sources but in the Australian case the egg appears to be the main cause.
According to Peter Collignon, from the Australian National University, 75% of Salmonella cases in Australia were result of handling or eating raw eggs. In fact, in recent years, Australia has been hit by several outbreaks of Salmonella caused by egg, some of them serious cases of massive infection.
Despite the modernization of food production processes, the Australian high sanitary standards and the government efforts to inform the population the risks of consuming raw eggs, nothing seem to be not enough to avoid Salmonella infection. So, what can we do? The answer to this problem could come from the other side of the ocean.
In Chile, a group of researchers from the School of Medical Technology and Veterinary Medicine of Santo Tomas University in Temuco are working on a project aimed at developing a technological system which will provide a specific antigen to produce eggs free of Salmonella enteritidis.
 “What we have done in this research is isolate Salmonella enteritidis in the poultry environment of the region. With these isolated Salmonella, we work generating oral doses for birds, to know if the inactivated bacteria was able to generate an immunity to protect the egg”, said Karen Villagran, director of the School of Medical Technology. "We wanted to ensure the egg was free of Salmonella once the chickens consumed in food as an  inactivated bacteria," she adds.
In addition, Carlos Cisternas project coordinator explains the importance of it: “This is a project that aims, in simple terms, get eggs protected from Salmonella. Once the birds are immunized, the antibodies are transferred to the egg make them free from salmonella"
In early 2015, the first results were obtained. Today that information is being thoroughly analyzed by researchers, but everything indicates the conclusions will be positive.
This way, despite the Salmonella bacteria in the environment, the egg would be protected and totally safe to consume
Although the Salmonella enteritidis is only one of several kinds of Salmonella identified, certainly this research represents a breakthrough for the food industry and if good results hold up there is the possibility to replicate it to other types of Salmonella and perhaps in the future Australians can enjoy an egg without fear of illness.


Aporte: Nicolina Prat (agosto)

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