Corrigendum to “Exploiting the explosion of information associated with whole genome sequencing to tackle Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in global food production systems” [Int. J. Food Microbiol. 187 (2014) 57–72]

International Journal of Food Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.08). 07/2014; 187C:57-72. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.07.002
Source: PubMed


The rates of foodborne disease caused by gastrointestinal pathogens continue to be a concern in both the developed and developing worlds. The growing world population, the increasing complexity of agri-food networks and the wide range of foods now associated with STEC are potential drivers for increased risk of human disease. It is vital that new developments in technology, such as whole genome sequencing (WGS), are effectively utilized to help address the issues associated with these pathogenic microorganisms. This position paper, arising from an OECD funded workshop, provides a brief overview of next generation sequencing technologies and software. It then uses the agent-host-environment paradigm as a basis to investigate the potential benefits and pitfalls of WGS in the examination of (1) the evolution and virulence of STEC, (2) epidemiology from bedside diagnostics to investigations of outbreaks and sporadic cases and (3) food protection from routine analysis of foodstuffs to global food networks. A number of key recommendations are made that include: validation and standardization of acquisition, processing and storage of sequence data including the development of an open access "WGSNET"; building up of sequence databases from both prospective and retrospective isolates; development of a suite of open-access software specific for STEC accessible to non-bioinformaticians that promotes understanding of both the computational and biological aspects of the problems at hand; prioritization of research funding to both produce and integrate genotypic and phenotypic information suitable for risk assessment; training to develop a supply of individuals working in bioinformatics/software development; training for clinicians, epidemiologists, the food industry and other stakeholders to ensure uptake of the technology and finally review of progress of implementation of WGS. Currently the benefits of WGS are being slowly teased out by academic, government, and industry or private sector researchers around the world. The next phase will require a coordinated international approach to ensure that it's potential to contribute to the challenge of STEC disease can be realized in a cost effective and timely manner.

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Available from: Eelco Franz, Feb 04, 2015
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    • "The current ISO/TS 13136:2012 added the detection of the five most common STEC serogroups O26, O103, O111, O145 from food, using a highly-sensitive real-time PCR (qPCR) screening in order to increase the chance to find samples positive for STEC. However, the follow-up culture-based isolation of these strains remains problematic (Franz et al., 2014). It is very important to select a suitable enrichment and isolation medium, which should facilitate the STEC cells' growth while inhibiting the background microbiota and ensuring the isolation and confirmation of STEC from food (Baylis, 2008; Catarame et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) remains a major foodborne pathogen of concern across the globe. Rapid detection and isolation of this pathogen is of great importance for public health reasons. In this study the detection and isolation of four non-O157 STEC strains (O26, O103, O111, O145) from different artificially contaminated matrices, namely ground (minced) beef, cattle carcass swab, lettuce mix and sprouted soy beans, were evaluated. Low amounts of STEC were used (0.25-1.40cfu/g) to spike the samples. All samples were enriched in parallel in Buffered Peptone Water (BPW) and Brila broth. After enrichment, detection was performed using real-time PCR (qPCR), and isolation using two chromogenic agar media, CHROMagar™ STEC and ChromID™ EHEC. Inoculation on the agar media was performed either directly after enrichment or after the use of an acid treatment procedure. Furthermore, the use of this procedure was also tested on naturally contaminated food products, using 150 stx-positive samples. Although the qPCR Cycle Threshold (Ct) values were lower after enrichment in Brila broth, no significant differences in recovery were observed between both enrichment broths. Both agar media were equally suitable for the isolation of STEC, although a significantly higher recovery was obtained when using both agar media in parallel. For samples with a Ct value above 25, an acid treatment step prior to isolation ensured a significant improvement in the recovery of STEC due to the reduction in background microbiota. This acid treatment procedure proved especially useful for the isolation of STEC from sprouted soy bean samples.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · International journal of food microbiology
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    • "However, these association studies might be confounded by food and host effects. Within serogroup O157 considerable attention has been given to the non-random distribution of genotypes among bovine and human clinical isolates, showing considerable genome divergence (Franz et al., 2014). However, observed non-random distribution of clades and lineages among bovine and human clinical isolates might be the result of a differentiation in virulence, transmission capacity and survival, or some combination (Franz et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: The potential for using whole genome sequencing (WGS) data in microbiological risk assessment (MRA) has been discussed on several occasions since the beginning of this century. Still, the proposed heuristic approaches have never been applied in a practical framework. This is due to the non-trivial problem of mapping microbial information consisting of thousands of loci onto a probabilistic scale for risks. The paradigm change for MRA involves translation of multidimensional microbial genotypic information to much reduced (integrated) phenotypic information and onwards to a single measure of human risk (i.e. probability of illness). In this paper a first approach in methodology development is described for the application of WGS data in MRA; this is supported by a practical example. That is, combining genetic data (single nucleotide polymorphisms; SNPs) for Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157 with phenotypic data (in vitro adherence to epithelial cells as a proxy for virulence) leads to hazard identification in a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS). This application revealed practical implications when using SNP data for MRA. These can be summarized by considering the following main issues: optimum sample size for valid inference on population level, correction for population structure, quantification and calibration of results, reproducibility of the analysis, links with epidemiological data, anchoring and integration of results into a systems biology approach for the translation of molecular studies to human health risk. Future developments in genetic data analysis for MRA should aim at resolving the mapping problem of processing genetic sequences to come to a quantitative description of risk. The development of a clustering scheme focusing on biologically relevant information of the microbe involved would be a useful approach in molecular data reduction for risk assessment.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · International Journal of Food Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: Foodborne diseases are an important cause of human illness worldwide. Humans acquire these infections from a variety of sources and routes of transmission. Many efforts have been made in the last decades to prevent and control foodborne diseases, particularly foodborne zoonoses. However, information on the impact of these interventions is limited. To identify and prioritize successful food safety interventions, it is important to attribute the burden of human illness to the specific sources. Defining scientific concepts and harmonizing terminology for "source attribution" is essential for understanding and improving attribution methodologies and for sharing knowledge within the scientific community. We propose harmonized nomenclature, and describe the various approaches for human illness source attribution and their usefulness to address specific public health questions.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2009 · Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
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