NIFA Food Safety Project Directors Meeting

NIFA held the annual project directors’ meeting at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). Dr. Pruden attended the meeting in Tampa, FL, and presented a talk that provided an overview about our research and extension efforts.

Lauren Wind successfully defended her thesis

Lauren Wind successfully defended her thesis work entitled, “Persistence of Culturable Antibiotic Resistant Fecal Coliforms from Manure-Amended Vegetable Fields”. This thesis explores the effects of crop (lettuce, radish) and fertilizer type (inorganic, compost, raw manure) on the incidence and persistence of antibiotic-resistant fecal coliforms, a common family of fecal indicator bacteria used to track the environmental spread of antibiotic resistance.

Team Meeting

Project team monthly meeting in which the team is discussing research results shared by Christine Pankow.

Robert Williams successfully defended his thesis

Robert Williams successfully defended his thesis work entitled, “Effect of Composting on the Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and Resistance Genes in Cattle Manure”. This thesis explores the effect of composting on the levels of ARGs and numbers of bacteria capable of growing on media containing antibiotics. Beef and dairy manure from cattle were studied and it was found that the composting process itself had a stronger influence than whether they had previously been administered antibiotics.

Natalie Pulido presents her thesis work

Natalie Pulido presents her thesis work, “Effect of Standard Post-harvest Interventions on the Survival and Re-growth of Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria on Fresh Produce”. Natalie was our first graduate student to successfully complete her work as part of our project objectives. This study was performed to determine the survival of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on raw, peeled, carrots after washing with commonly used chemical sanitizers. Natalie’s important work is a step towards developing science-based policy towards tackling the serious threat of antibiotic resistance. Congratulations to Natalie!

Advisory Board Meeting

The Core Project Team, students, and post-docs met with Advisory Board members for our second annual meeting. Dr. Amy Pruden provided a brief overview on project progress, followed by presentations by team members on progress with each of the project objectives. The Advisory Board provided excellent targeted feedback related to data analyses and interpretation, and next steps with outreach and education efforts. It was an wonderful time of interaction and engagement, culminating in a delicious meal at a local Blacksburg restaurant.

Experiments Take Place in the Soils Lab

Post-doctoral researcher, Chaoqi Chen, obtains and freeze dries a sample collection. Then, extraction and purification methods take place using sonication and SPE Systems. The concentrated samples are then prepared for final analysis using a LC/QQQ instrument.

Post-Harvest Research Takes Place

Our Masters student, Natalie Pulido, is working hard to understand the microbial effects of post-harvest washing with sanitizers when applied to the surface of carrots that have been dipped into solutions of composts and manures with antibiotics.