Developing tools for rapid detection of pathogens

Woubit Abebe College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Search for other papers by Woubit Abebe in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 DVM, MSc, PhD
,
Temesgen Samuel College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Search for other papers by Temesgen Samuel in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 DVM, PhD
, and
Ruby L. Perry College of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL

Search for other papers by Ruby L. Perry in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
 DVM, PhD, DACVR

Contributing to the agricultural economy of Alabama, the nation's second-largest poultry producer

Advanced research in food safety is one of the focus areas for the Center for Food Animal Health, Food Safety, and Food Defense in the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. The Center aims to take a leading role in keeping the state's food supply safe by using technologies developed in-house for the rapid detection of food pathogens.

The Center was conceived and initiated by Dean Ruby Perry in 2019 to play a vital role in food animal health, food safety, and food defense in the state of Alabama.

Some of the accomplishments of the Center so far include US patents for “Detection of biothreat and foodborne pathogens” and “Genetic array for simultaneous detection of multiple Salmonella serovars” with funding through the National Center for Food Protection and Defense/Department of Homeland Security and the USDA/National Institute of Food and Agriculture/Capacity Building Grants, respectively.

Alabama's economy depends heavily on agriculture, including food animals (poultry and beef) and aquaculture. Poultry account for 60% of the state's livestock production. Alabama ranks second, producing about 12% of the nation's broilers. We are ideally positioned in the state, where 1 million chickens are slaughtered every day and distributed across the nation and globally. In the United States only, annually, 48 million people become sick from foodborne illnesses and 128,000 are hospitalized, with 3,000 deaths. It is so evident that reducing such illnesses by 10% would prevent 5 million Americans from getting sick each year.

The Center has teamed with the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University to develop a rapid biosensor test for 4 priority pathogens: namely Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes. The project is funded by the Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the sensors will be used to test animal infections and food safety. This partnership also supports the research endeavors of PhD, Master of Veterinary Science, and summer DVM students at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

F1
F1

Top: Drs. Temesgen Samuel and Woubit Abebe, the visionaries behind rapid diagnostic tool development.

Bottom front row: left to right: Savannah Simon (DVM student), Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja (MSU), Dr. Woubit Abebe, and Dr. Rawah Faraj. Bottom back row: left to right: Tyric James (student), Yilkal Woube and Kingsley Bentum (PhD students), and McCoy Williams (DVM student).

Citation: American Journal of Veterinary Research 84, 1; 10.2460/ajvr.22.07.0119

This is part of a bigger effort by the Center to bolster the safety of food and poultry products produced in Alabama and enhance the trade potential in general. In collaboration with the industry, the tests we develop will be used to monitor and control the priority 4 pathogens in poultry farms as well as processing plants and help design effective mitigation strategies to minimize economic and public health consequences of widespread contamination.

  • Top: Drs. Temesgen Samuel and Woubit Abebe, the visionaries behind rapid diagnostic tool development.

    Bottom front row: left to right: Savannah Simon (DVM student), Dr. Evangelyn Alocilja (MSU), Dr. Woubit Abebe, and Dr. Rawah Faraj. Bottom back row: left to right: Tyric James (student), Yilkal Woube and Kingsley Bentum (PhD students), and McCoy Williams (DVM student).

Advertisement