The fungus responsible for an outbreak of contaminated Greek yogurt last year is not harmless after all but a strain with the ability to cause disease, according to research published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
In September 2013, customers of Chobani brand Greek yogurt complained of gastrointestinal (GI) problems after consuming products manufactured in the company's Idaho plant. The company issued a recall, and it was believed at the time that the fungal contaminant Murcor circinelloides was only a potential danger to immunocompromised individuals.
However, as complaints of severe GI discomfort continued from otherwise healthy customers, researchers began to question the fungus and its ability to cause harm in healthy humans.
"When he heard about the Chobani recall after reports of people becoming sick from yogurt contaminated with Mucor circinelloides, we thought the M. circinelloides strain could cause more serious problems than one might think." says Soo Chan Lee of Duke University, an author on the study.
In the study, the researchers isolated a strain of the fungus from a yogurt container that was subject to recall. Using a technique known as multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), they identified the strain as Mucor circinelloides f. circinelloides (Mcc). Unlike other strains of the fungus, that particular subspecies is commonly associated with human infections.
Whole-genome sequence analysis of the yogurt isolate confirmed it as being closely related to Mcc and also revealed the possibility that this fungus could produce harmful metabolites that were previously unknown in this species. The researchers then tested the strain on mice, where the fungus showed an ability to cause lethal infections when the fungal spores were injected into the bloodstream as well as to survive passage through the GI tract when the spores were ingested orally.
"When people think about food-borne pathogens, normally they list bacteria, viruses, and maybe parasites. Fungal pathogens are not considered as food-borne pathogens. However, this incidence indicates that we need to pay more attention to fungi. Fungal pathogens can threaten our health systems as food-borne pathogens" says Lee.
mBio® is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. It can be found online at http://mbio.asm.org.
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Jim Sliwa | Eurek Alert!
From rigid to flexible
29.08.2016 | Technische Universität Dresden
Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits
26.08.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...
Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.
In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...
Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.
Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...
A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.
25.08.2016 | Event News
24.08.2016 | Event News
12.08.2016 | Event News
29.08.2016 | Materials Sciences
29.08.2016 | Life Sciences
29.08.2016 | Medical Engineering