Article

Human Pathogens on Plants: Designing a Multidisciplinary Strategy for Research.

Oklahoma State University, Entomology and Plant Pathology, 127 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States, 74078, 405-744-9948, 405-744-6039
Phytopathology (Impact Factor: 2.75). 02/2013; DOI: 10.1094/PHYTO-09-12-0236-IA
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent efforts to address concerns about microbial contamination of food plants and resulting foodborne illness have prompted new collaboration and interactions between the scientific communities of plant pathology and food safety. This article provides perspectives from scientists of both disciplines, and presents selected research results and concepts that highlight existing and possible future synergisms for audiences of both disciplines. Plant pathology is a complex discipline that encompasses studies of the dissemination, colonization and infection of plants by microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and oomycetes. Plant pathologists study plant diseases as well as host plant defense responses and disease management strategies with the goal of minimizing disease occurrences and impacts. Repeated outbreaks of human illness attributed to the contamination of fresh produce, nuts and seeds, and other plant-derived foods by human enteric pathogens such as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. have led some plant pathologists to broaden the application of their science in the past two decades, to address problems of human pathogens on plants (HPOPs). Food microbiology, which began with the study of microbes that spoil foods and those that are critical to produce food, now also focuses study on how foods become contaminated with pathogens and how this can be controlled or prevented. Thus, at the same time, public health researchers and food microbiologists have become more concerned about plant-microbe interactions before and after harvest. New collaborations are forming between members of the plant pathology and food safety of their science to address problems of human pathogens on plants (HPOPs). New interactions and collaborations are forming between members of the plant pathology and food safety communities, leading to enhanced research capacity and greater understanding of the issues for which research is needed. The two communities use somewhat different vocabularies and conceptual models. For example, traditional plant pathology concepts such as the disease triangle and the disease cycle can help to define cross-over issues that pertain also to HPOP research, and can suggest logical strategies for minimizing the risk of microbial contamination. Continued interactions and communication among these two disciplinary communities is essential, and can be achieved by the creation of an interdisciplinary Research Coordination Network. We hope that this article, an introduction to the multidisciplinary HPOP arena, will be useful to researchers in many related fields.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
99 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although most plant diseases are the result of natural or unintentional causes, cropping systems and essential natural plant resources such as forests and grasslands also are considered vulnerable to actions of nefarious intent. Microbial forensics is defined as the application of scientific approaches to solving a crime that involves a microorganism; its goal is to investigate and present unbiased scientific evidence useful for attributing the crime to a perpetrator. Recent programs intended to enhance general capabilities in microbial forensics have included specific attention to plant pathogens. Compared to the strategies employed by traditional plant disease diagnosticians, forensic applications of plant pathogen diagnostics require unusually high levels of stringency, reliability, and prior vali-dation. These assays must be paired with court-defensible sampling methods, chain of custody, and other traditional and non-traditional methods of forensic investigation., © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014 103 Forensics and Plant Pathology – Synergy of Two Disciplines Forensic plant pathology is a blend of the disciplines of plant pathology and forensic science that supports the investigation of plant diseases and pathogens by providing unbiased scientific methodology and evidence for criminal attribution. Important to this effort are traceback strategies for determining pathogen origin and movement pathway(s) as well as the possible role of human intent. Plant pathology and forensic science find a common arena with other disciplines within the realm of agricultural biosecurity, which includes science-based policies, measures and reg-ulatory frameworks for reacting to and managing risks associated with food, agriculture, forestry, and the environmental (UN 2002). The concept also includes other areas of environmental risk such as aquatic systems, and strongly associated sectors such as human health, justice and defense (Ochoa-Corona 2011). Unwanted movement of plant pathogens and pests into the agricultural sector can take place by various means including wind, water, insects, international commerce and travel. Such movement occurs frequently as inadvertent introduction of exotic pathogens and pests; however smuggling and illegal trade are examples of relevant criminal activities. In such situations multidisciplinary teams including representatives of the diagnostic, regulatory, and law enforcement communities must work in coor-dination to achieve the most effective response (Fig. 1). More creative strategies for both vertical and horizontal communication among the involved biosecurity and law enforcement agencies are needed (Ochoa-Corona 2011).
    Detection and Diagnostics of Plant Pathogens. Series: Plant Pathology in the 21st Century, Vol. 5., 1st edited by Maria Lodovica Gullino, Peter J M Bonants, 01/2014: chapter 7: pages 103-115; Springer., ISBN: ISBN 978-94-017-9020-8 (eBook)
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Our growing awareness that contaminated plants, fresh fruits and vegetables, are responsible for a significant proportion of food poisoning with pathogenic microorganisms indorses the demand to understand the interactions between plants and human pathogens. Today we understand that those pathogens do not merely survive on or within plants, they actively infect plant organisms by suppressing their immune system. Studies on the infection process and disease development used mainly physiological, genetic, and molecular approaches, image-based analysis provides yet another method for this toolbox. Employed as an observational tool, it bears the potential for objective and high throughput approaches, and together with other methods it will be very likely a part of data fusion approaches in the near future.
    11/2014; 12(20-21). DOI:10.1016/j.csbj.2014.09.010
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Outbreaks of foodborne illness, resulting from the consumption of fresh produce contaminated with human pathogens, are increasing. Potential uptake and persistence of human pathogens within edible parts of consumed fresh vegetables become an important issue in food safety. This study was conducted to assess the potential uptake and internalization of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes from an autoclaved substrate into edible parts of basil and baby salad plants (lettuce, cultivated rocket, wild rocket and corn salad) from 20 to 60–80 days after inoculation, when plants are ready to be harvested and commercialized. Plants were grown in mesocosms under different temperature conditions (24 °C and 30 °C) and the growing substrate was inoculated using contaminated irrigation water (7 log CFU/mL). E. coli O157:H7 could be internalized in the leaves of the tested leafy vegetables through the roots and persist up to the harvesting time with negligible differences between 24 °C and 30 °C. Significant decreases in pathogen titers were observed over time in the growing substrate on which the plants grew, until the last sampling time. In contrast, L. monocytogenes internalized and persisted only in lettuce mesocosms at 24 °C. Neither pathogen was observed in basil leaves. Similarly, in basil growing substrates, enteric bacteria were undetectable at the end of the experiments, suggesting that basil plants may produce and release antimicrobial compounds active against both bacteria in root exudates. These results suggest that enteric bacteria are able to persist within baby salad leaves up to market representing a risk for consumer's health.
    International Journal of Food Microbiology 10/2014; 189:139-145. DOI:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.08.003 · 3.16 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
2 Downloads
Available from
Mar 19, 2015