100 Years of Bacillus thuringiensis: A Critical Scientific Assessment, 2002

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Prepared by Eugene Nester, Ph.D., Linda S. Thomashow, Ph.D., Matthew Metz, Ph.D., and Milton Gordon, Ph.D.

Presents the case of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and its use in agriculture. Compares genetic modification of crops to alternatives and addresses the current controversy, positive outcomes, and potential risks associated with transgenic plants. Makes specific recommendations for future research, evaluation and environmental monitoring, scientific coordination, and public education.

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FAQ: E. Coli: Good, Bad, and Deadly, 2011

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News headlines often paint E. coli as a vicious bacterium, capable of causing disease and death to those unfortunate enough to ingest it. But that is only a tiny minority of E. coli, and a very small part of the story of this remarkable bacterium; its relationship to human health and the food we eat is much more complex. Not all E. coli are bad - in fact most are not - and some are even beneficial. On September 1st 2011, the American Academy of Microbiology convened an expert panel of microbiologists, food safety experts, and bacteriologists to develop a more accurate picture of this often maligned bacterium. This report, the product of that meeting, tells the larger story of E. coli: its role in human health, in food, and even in our understanding of our own biology.

 

 

Teaching Materials

ASM Curriculum Guidelines Description

The Secret Lives of E. coli teaching poster

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Food Safety: Current Status and Future Needs, 1999

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Prepared by Stephanie Doores, Ph.D.

Analyzes new challenges affecting the safety of the food supply in the United States, charts directions for future research, and offers specific recommendations. Discusses factors that influence the incidence of foodborne disease, sampling and surveillance, risk assessment, and the food safety community.


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Global Food Safety: Keeping Food Safe from Farm to Table, 2010

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“Global Food Safety: Keeping Food Safe from Farm to Table,” is based on a colloquium convened by the Academy in 2009. This report reviews the current state of affairs in microbiological food safety around the world. It is extremely challenging to know how many people are made sick by food, which foods are at fault, which pathogens are most widespread or dangerous, and where those pathogens entered the food production system. In such a situation, where should research, prevention and education efforts be directed? In this report, each step in our complicated food production and supply system is described, highlighting key points of vulnerability, and making it clear that providing safe food is a shared responsibility.

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Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis: Infrequent Human Pathogen or Public Health Threat? 2008

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Prepared by Carol Nacy and Merry Buckley.

People with Crohn’s disease (CD) are seven-fold more likely to have in their gut tissues the bacterium that causes a digestive-tract disease in cattle called Johne’s disease. The role this bacterium may or may not play in causing CD is a top research priority. This report points out that the cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, and the possible role of this bacterium, which could conceivably be passed up the food chain to people, has received too little attention from the research community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Preharvest Food Safety and Security, 2005

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Prepared Richard E. Isaacson, Mary Torrence, and Merry R. Buckley.


Recent outbreaks of a number of foodborne illnesses have been linked to contamination occuring in the preharvest stage of food processing. The report also recommends creating an accessible international database of genetic sequences for known foodborne pathogens along with new and improved tools for detecting and cataloging pathogens on the farm.

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Research Opportunities in Food and Agriculture Microbiology, 2005

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Prepared by Michael Doyle, Lee-Ann Jaykus, and Matthew Metz.

Details the ever-present threats to the food supply posed by disease, spoilage, and the specter of agro-terrorism, along with how the commitment to research in food and agricultural microbiology is on the decline.

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The Role of Antibiotics in Agriculture, 2002

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Prepared by Richard E. Isaacson, Ph.D., and Mary E. Torrence, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Addresses the complicated questions around the use of antibiotics in agriculture. Examines the current state of research on origins and reservoirs of resistance, transfer of resistance, and modulating resistance by altering usage. Makes recommendations for surveillance, risk assessment, prudent use guidelines, management and production practices, and education.

 

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