Salmonella can cling to lettuce leaves with their organs of locomotion.
Read out Why the consumption of lettuce in rare cases can lead to a salmonella infection, British researchers have now found. The scientists around the biologist Gadi Frankel of Imperial College in London discovered the mechanism with which the Salmonellen with their locomotion organs, the so-called Flagellen, on the sheets of salad and vegetables hold fast. If these salmonella enter the human body in this way, there is a risk of food poisoning. Originally Salmonella occur mainly in the bowels of mammals and birds. If salmonella-contaminated animal excretions are used to fertilize vegetable fields, the bacteria can also reach for lettuce and vegetables, the researchers explain. Further infection possibilities exist also during the processing of the vegetables, if hygienic standards are not kept.

However, it was unclear how the Salmonella can hold onto the vegetables. To investigate this question, Frankel and his colleagues produced genetically modified salmonella that had no locomotion organs. In the subsequent experiments, these artificially produced salmonella could not keep on the vegetables. From this, the researchers concluded that the flagella not only serve the bacteria for locomotion, but also as a holding organ.

The researchers around Frankel see in salmonella vegetables a high risk potential: In the course of a healthier diet more and more people resorted to salad products, the scientists describe. At the same time increase the risk of infection by contaminated vegetables. According to the researchers, the products are most likely to be labeled as "washed", as consumers here tend to refrain from washing them again. "It's a personal choice, but people should be aware of the risk before deciding whether to wash their food or not, " explains Frankel.

Gadi Frankel (Imperial College, London): Contribution to the conference "Food Micro 2008", Aberdeen ddp / Markus Zen's ad


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