UCC team helps fight against food poisoning
Breakthrough research conducted by researchers at University College Cork (UCC) has found that certain food types allow the bacteria that causes food poisoning to survive.
It is hoped that the study will help identify and eliminate high-risk food from the diet of elderly people and pregnant women, who are most at risk from the effects of the illness.
The information, which is to be presented at the autumn meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Nottingham today, will describe how bacteria uses different tricks to aid survival inside the body.
Acidic conditions will kill most microbes found in contaminated food. But the UCC research team led by Professor Colin Hill found that the bacteria listeria, which may be found in soft cheeses and chilled ready-to-eat products, can overcome harsh acidic conditions by exploiting key food ingredients.
"Our studies show that consuming listeria in one food may be quite safe, while eating the same amount in another food might be lethal," Prof Hill said.
"By understanding the role of the food matrix we may be able to identify and eliminate high-risk foods from the diet of susceptible people."