Research at the NRL for Campylobacter
In contrast to most other food-associated pathogens, Campylobacter spp. are fastidious bacteria, which are difficult to cultivate in vitro. However, cultivation and detection of live bacteria from food serves as a basis for realistic risk assessment of food products contaminated by Campylobacter spp.. Moreover, Campylobacter spp. exhibit a high genetic variability, which enable the bacteria to adapt to changing environments and to increase their potential to survive in the host organism as well as in the food chain.
Research focus at the NRL for Campylobacter
Due to the particularity of the bacterium, research is focussed on the following main topics:
- Optimisation of the cultivation conditions for Campylobacter ssp. (the question is addressed whether the cultivation methods used for Campylobacter detection lead to selection of strains which adequately reflect natural strain diversity)
- Development, validation and standardisation of new molecular methods for the detection and genotyping of Campylobacter spp.
- Surveillance of the distribution and spread of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter isolates as well as characterisation of resistance determinants on the molecular level.
- Horizontal gene transfer in Campylobacter spp. as driving force for genome variability and adaptation to changing ecological niches (animal host, food products, human host).