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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Vertical Transmission. July 2004

This will be my last vertical transmission ? the past 2 years have just flown. I have enjoyed my time as National President, especially the support and friendship that I have received from the membership. The ASM is a really good society to be part of and I would encourage fellow members to also become involved in ASM affairs at either the State or national level. There are many opportunities to be part of the ASM, whether it be helping with a conference or participating in an SIG or branch committee. I can assure you, you will find this a rewa...

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A nexus of complexity

Many microbiology texts will state that food microbiology covers the interaction between microorganisms and food. An accurate enough description, albeit one that disguises the complexity of an interaction that can require considerations as seemingly diverse as pathogenicity and physical chemistry, and one that disguises operation in a nexus of profit, trade, regulation, public health, litigation, fads and consumerism.

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In Focus

Martin B Cole

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Food biosecurity in the United States

The events of 11 September 2001 highlighted the vulnerability of US citizens and the US society in general to terrorist attacks. Since then, numerous governmental agencies and scientific bodies have emphasised the need to enhance the biosecurity of the US food supply. Food biosecurity is the prevention of intentional contamination of food with hazardous biological agents through tampering or other malicious, criminal or terrorist actions or threats. As part of the nation?s response to this issue, Congress passed the Public Health Security and B...

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?Beyond reasonable doubt? or ?on the balance of probabilities?: Laboratories and the legal system

In the current climate of accountability and litigation in Australia, laboratory staff are increasingly being called upon to justify their professional behaviour in court. Laboratories receive and occasionally collect samples, perform tests and provide results which they are sometimes asked to interpret in a court of law. The intent of the test is usually, but not always, clear. The results may be used to determine the extent of commercial or regulatory compliance as part of dispute resolution, as evidence during prosecution, or in a formal enq...

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Qualitative vs quantitative microbiology

Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella are food-borne pathogens of importance to the Australian beef and dairy industries. Cattle are a significant reservoir for both of these pathogens and beef has been the source of food-borne outbreaks of both E. coli O157 and Salmonella. The presence of pathogens in cattle can lead to contamination of carcasses during slaughter and products produced from these contaminated carcasses pose a risk to consumers. However, the magnitude of the risk is not clear. Until recently, almost all of the information publish...

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Transfer of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in food

Antimicrobial therapy is essential for the treatment of infectious disease in humans and animals. However, the development, spread and persistence of bacteria resistant to antimicrobials threatens the effectiveness of antimicrobial therapy. Since food is a vehicle by which people can acquire antimicrobial resistant bacteria, there are growing risks to human health posed by the selection of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the food chain.

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OzFoodNet: a network for enhancing food-borne disease surveillance and investigation across Australia

The Australian Government established OzFoodNet in 2000 to enhance surveillance and determine the burden of infection from food-borne illness across Australia. The OzFoodNet network collaborates nationally to investigate food-borne disease. OzFoodNet has three main areas of work, which are to: ? Determine the burden of food-borne illness in Australia. ? Identify the causes of food-borne disease. ? Coordinate investigations into outbreaks of food-borne illness.

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Real-time testing of foods: the Holy Grail?

The approach to quality assurance and control in the food industry has changed, especially with the widespread implementation of preventative, process-oriented food safety plans grounded in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and risk assessment principles. However, microbiological analysis of foods remains critical to the management of quality and safety of food products, particularly with respect to the detection of pathogens. The time to complete tests has decreased significantly but, the required sensitivity of the test, the phys...

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The ComBase initiative

Food safety professionals in industry, academia and regulatory agencies increasingly use computer modelling tools to improve food safety and shelf life (including the development of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans) and to support microbial food safety risk assessments. Earlier this year, we conducted workshops in Melbourne and Sydney to introduce Australian scientists to one such tool, ComBase, and to provide training in its use

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pH-elevating Bacillus spp. in acid pasteurised foods

Trends in consumer and industry processing are influencing packaging formats for acid foods, which in turn impact upon in-pack oxygen availability. For example, microwave cooking is influencing the growing popularity of (oxygen permeable) polymer containers over traditional (oxygen impermeable) glass jars and cans. Single-serve packages that boast a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio than larger (e.g. family-serve) packs are similarly growing in popularity.

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Putting the pressure on spoilage fungi

Heat processing has been a mainstay of the food industry for many years and is used to destroy microorganisms in foods to render the foods safe and extend the shelf life. However, heat processing is detrimental to the flavour and texture of many foods, and canned foods are regarded as ?old-fashioned? by some consumers. Consequently, some manufacturers of canned fruits have moved to flexible packaging to make their product more appealing to consumers, but this does not really change the organoleptic profiles of the heat processed product.

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Microelectrode Ion Flux Estimation (MIFE) technique in microbiology: A cutting edge approach to study bacterial stress responses

The idea of measuring net ion fluxes at the proximity of a living organism using non-invasive microelectrodes was first proposed by Prof B Lucas at the NATO Advanced Studies Institute in Italy in 1984. This led to creation of the National Vibrating Probe Facility at Woods Hole, USA, which is widely used for electrophysiological studies in medical and animal physiology research.An alternative approach was developed by Dr Ian Newman (School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Tasmania) and resulted in the construction of the MIFER system, w...

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The role of EML Consulting Services (QLD): a consulting food microbiology laboratory

The relationship between the consulting microbiology laboratory and the food industry remains one of the most critical linkages within the framework of food quality and safety in the commercial setting. EML Consulting Services has cultivated such linkages for over 30 years. EML Consulting Services QLD is the Brisbane Laboratory of the Australian owned EML Group, a network of consulting microbiologists, chemists and allergenists incorporating five laboratories in three States. EML offers high quality food safety testing with minimal turnaround t...

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ASM Affairs, July 2004

Emerging Microbiologists; Branch activity reports; Standing Committee on Clinical Microbiology

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