Monday, August 1, 2016: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
231-232 (America's Center - St. Louis)
Sponsored By: IAFP Foundation
Primary Contact: Shirley A. Micallef
Organizer: Shirley A. Micallef
Convenor: Govindaraj Dev KumarAlthough plants are not the main reservoir for enteric bacteria and viruses, consumption of produce is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Our understanding of how these pathogens can associate with, and persist on plants to cause disease remains fragmented. For these associations to be successful, enteric bacteria must attach to plant surfaces, and avert recognition and/or thwart plant defenses, while competing with other microorganisms to access utilizable nutrients to sustain their growth and persistence. All this is done through a chemical exchange that we are just beginning to decode. Recent advances in research on human pathogen-plant interactions are revealing bacterial nutrient sources in the phyllosphere of food crops. Ongoing studies are investigating how human pathogens are able to thrive on plant surface compounds and exudates in a plant cultivar-dependent manner, revealing a controlled association between the bacterium and the plant genotype. Moreover, plant pathogens that cause plant cell damage and leakage of phytocompounds alter the phyllosphere niche in a way that may favor human pathogen colonization. Plants, on the other hand, appear to recognize human pathogens, mounting weak responses against the colonizers. Research on viral strategies is revealing how these infectious agents can persist on crops by binding to carbohydrates and proteins in a process that appear to vary by plant developmental stage. This symposium will bring together speakers who will present and discuss our current understanding of how enteric pathogens attach, persist and multiply on plants, while in turn being sensed by plants via pathogen-associated molecular patterns. As we continue to decode these interactions at the chemical level, we can begin to integrate this knowledge in future intervention strategies aimed at reducing contamination of fresh produce with enteric pathogens both at the pre- and post-harvest stage.
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