Agricultural sciences


Recent Submissions

  • Myllykoski J; Lindström M; Keto-Timonen R; Söderholm H; Jakala J; Kallio H; Sukura A; Korkeala H (2008)
    The first reported bovine botulism outbreak in Finland is described. Nine out of 90 cattle on a dairy farm died after being fed non-acidified silage contaminated by animal carcasses. Type C botulinum neurotoxin gene was detected in one heifer by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the neurotoxin was detected by the mouse bioassay. Clostridium botulinum type C was isolated from liver samples. The isolated strain was identified with amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis as group III C. botulinum. To our knowledge, this is the first time that a type C bovine botulism outbreak has been diagnosed by PCR and confirmed by subsequent isolation and AFLP identification of the disease strain. The importance of the acidification process in silage production to inhibit C. botulinum toxin production in silage and thus to prevent further botulism outbreaks is emphasized. Nevertheless, preformed toxin in the carcass is not destroyed by acid.
  • Dahlsten E; Korkeala H; Somervuo P; Lindström M (2008)
    Groups I (proteolytic) and II (nonproteolytic) C. botulinum are genetically and physiologically distinct groups of organisms, with both groups being involved with human botulism. Due to differences in spore heat resistance and growth characteristics, the two groups possess different types of human health risks through foods, drink, and the environment. The epidemiology of human botulism due to Groups I and II C. botulinum is poorly understood, largely due to insufficient characterization of disease isolates, and warrants thorough outbreak investigation with a particular attention to discrimination between the different physiological groups of C. botulinum. In this study, a PCR assay was developed to discriminate between Group I and Group II C. botulinum. The assay is based on the fldB associated with phenylalanine metabolism in proteolytic clostridia, and employs an internal amplification control targeted to conservative regions of 16S rrn in Groups I and II C. botulinum. The assay correctly identified all 36 Group I and 24 Group II C. botulinum strains, possessing a 100% exclusivity and inclusivity. The assay provides a substantial improvement in discriminating between the Groups I and II C. botulinum, which traditionally is based on a time-consuming and error-prone culture method. Differentiation between the physiological groups of C. botulinum is an essential step in investigation of human botulism outbreaks, and should be considered as a diagnostic corner-stone in order to improve our epidemiological understanding of human botulism.
  • Chen, Ying; Korkeala, Hannu; Aarnikunnas, Johannes; Lindstrom, Miia (2007)
    Three Clostridium botulinum type E strains were sequenced for the botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) gene cluster, and 11 type E strains, representing a wide biodiversity, were sequenced for the bont/E gene. The total length of the BoNT/E gene cluster was 12,908 bp, and a novel gene (partial) designated orfx3, together with the complete orfx2 gene, was identified in the three type E strains for the first time. Apart from orfx3, the structure and organization of the neurotoxin gene cluster of the three strains were identical to those of previously published ones. Only minor differences (</=3%) in the nucleotide sequences of the gene cluster components were observed among the three strains and the published BoNT/E-producing clostridia. The orfx3, orfx2, orfx1, and p47 gene sequences of the three type E strains shared homologies of 81%, 67 to 76%, 78 to 79%, and 79 to 85%, respectively, with published sequences for type A1 and A2 C. botulinum. Analysis of bont/E from the 14 type E strains and 19 previously published BoNT/E-producing clostridia revealed six neurotoxin subtypes, with a new distinct subtype consisting of three Finnish isolates alone. The amino acid sequence of the subtype E6 neurotoxin differed 3 to 6% from the other subtypes, suggesting that these subtype E6 neurotoxins may possess specific antigenic or functional properties.
  • Lahti P; Heikinheimo A; Johansson T; Korkeala H (2007)
    The prevalences of various genotypes of enterotoxin gene-carrying (cpe-positive) Clostridium perfringens type A in 24 different food poisoning outbreaks were 75% (chromosomal IS1470-cpe), 21% (plasmid-borne IS1470-like-cpe), and 4% (plasmid-borne IS1151-cpe). The results show that C. perfringens type A carrying the plasmid-borne cpe is a common cause of food poisoning.
  • Keto-Timonen, R; Tolvanen, R; Lunden, J; Korkeala, H (2007)
    Contamination routes of Listeria monocytogenes were examined in a chilled food processing plant that produced ready-to-eat and ready-to-reheat meals during an 8-year period by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. A total of 319 L. monocytogenes isolates were recovered from raw materials (n=18), the environment (n=77), equipment (n=193), and products (n=31), and 18 different AFLP types were identified, five of which were repeatedly found to be persistent types. The three compartments (I to III) of the plant showed markedly different contamination statuses. Compartment I, which produced cooked meals, was heavily contaminated with three persistent AFLP types. AFLP type A1 dominated, and it comprised 93% of the isolates of the compartment. Compartment II, which produced uncooked chilled food, was contaminated with four persistent and five nonpersistent AFLP types. The equipment of compartment III, which produced cooked ready-to-reheat meals, was free of contamination. In compartments that produced cooked meals, the cleaning routines, product types, and lack of compartmentalization seemed to predispose production lines to persistent contamination. The most contaminated lines harbored L. monocytogenes in coolers, conveyors, and packing machines. Good compartmentalization limited the flow of L. monocytogenes into the postheat -treatment area and prevented the undesired movement of equipment and personnel, thus protecting the production lines from contamination. In compartment II, grated cheese was shown to cause product contamination. Therefore, special attention should be paid to continuous quality control of raw ingredients when uncooked ready-to-eat foods are produced. In compartment II, reconstruction of the production line resulted in reduced prevalence rates of L. monocytogenes and elimination of two persistent AFLP types.
  • Tolvanen,-R; Lunden,-J; Korkeala,-H; Wirtanen,-G (Des Moines, USA: International Association for Food Protection., 2007)
    Persistent Listeria monocytogenes contamination of food industry equipment is a difficult problem to solve. Ultrasonic cleaning offers new possibilities for cleaning conveyors and other equipment that are not easy to clean. Ultrasonic cleaning was tested on three conveyor belt materials: polypropylene, acetal, and stainless steel (cold-rolled, AISI 304). Cleaning efficiency was tested at two temperatures (30 and 45 degrees C) and two cleaning times (30 and 60 s) with two cleaning detergents (KOH, and NaOH combined with KOH). Conveyor belt materials were soiled with milk-based soil and L. monocytogenes strains V1, V3, and B9, and then incubated for 72 h to attach bacteria to surfaces. Ultrasonic cleaning treatments reduced L. monocytogenes counts on stainless steel 4.61 to 5.90 log units; on acetal, 3.37 to 5.55 log units; and on polypropylene, 2.31 to 4.40 log units. The logarithmic reduction differences were statistically analyzed by analysis of variance using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. The logarithmic reduction was significantly greater in stainless steel than in plastic materials (P<0.001 for polypropylene, P=0.023 for acetal). Higher temperatures enhanced the cleaning efficiency in tested materials. No significant difference occurred between cleaning times. The logarithmic reduction was significantly higher (P=0.013) in cleaning treatments with potassium hydroxide detergent. In this study, ultrasonic cleaning was efficient for cleaning conveyor belt materials.
  • Berzins,-A; Horman,-A; Lunden,-J; Korkeala,-H (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier., 2007)
    A total of 312 samples of sliced, vacuum packaged, cold-smoked pork from 15 meat processing plants in Latvia and Lithuania, obtained over a 15-month period from 2003 until 2004, were analyzed for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes at the end of their shelf-life. Overall, 120 samples (38%) tested positive for L. monocytogenes. Despite the long storing period, the levels of L. monocytogenes in cold-smoked pork products were low. Manufacturing processes were studied at seven meat processing plants. A new approach with a logistic multivariable regression model was applied to identify the main factors associated with L. monocytogenes contamination during the manufacturing of cold-smoked pork products. Brining by injection was a significant factor (odds ratio 10.66; P<0.05) for contamination of product with L. monocytogenes. Moreover, long cold-smoking times (>=12 h) had a significant predictive value (odds ratio 24.38; P<0.014) for a sample to test positive for L. monocytogenes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis results indicated that various sources of L. monocytogenes contamination existed over periods of time in several meat processing plants. In two meat processing plants, persistent L. monocytogenes strains belonging to serotypes 1/2a and 1/2c were found.
  • Leonowicz, A.,; Lundell, T.K.; Rogalski, J.; Hatakka, A.I. (Polish society of microbiologists, 1991)
  • Rogalski, J.; Lundell, T.; Leonowicz, A.; Hatakka, A. (Polish society of microbiologists, 1991)
  • Nuorti, J.P.; Niskanen, T.; Hallanvuo, S.; Mikkola, J.; Kela, E.; Hatakka, M.; Fredriksson-Ahomaa, M.; Lyytikäinen, O.; Siitonen, A.; Korkeala, H.; Ruutu, P. (University of Chicago Press, 2004)
    Background. The vehicles and sources of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection are unknown. In Finland, clinical microbiology laboratories routinely report Y. pseudotuberculosis isolations and submit isolates for serotype analysis. In October 1998, the number of serotype O:3 infections increased markedly. Methods. Case patients with culture-confirmed Y. pseudotuberculosis O:3 infection were identified by use of laboratory-based surveillance. We conducted a population-based case-control study. Healthy community control subjects were matched by age, sex, and postal code. Isolates were subtyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Results. Nationwide, 47 case patients were identified (age range, 277 years; median, 19 years). One patient with bacteremia died; 5 underwent appendectomies. We enrolled 38 case patients and 76 control subjects in the case-control study. Seventy-one percent of case patients and 42% of control subjects reported having eaten iceberg lettuce (matched odds ratio, 3.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.39.4); a dose-response relationship was found for increasing frequency of consumption. Of the 27 isolates obtained from case patients and tested in the analysis, all had indistinguishable PFGE patterns. Four lunch cafeterias that had served iceberg lettuce were associated with clusters of case patients. The lettuce was traced back to originating farms. Conclusions. Iceberg lettuce was implicated as the vehicle of a widespread foodborne Y. pseudotuberculosis outbreak. Ongoing laboratory-based surveillance and serotype analysis were essential in the rapid detection of infection. Cases of yersiniosis, which appear to be sporadic, may be part of unrecognized outbreaks caused by contaminated fresh produce.
  • Lyytikäinen, O.; Autio, T.; Maijala, R.; Ruutu, P.; Honkanen-Buzalski, T.; Miettinen, M.; Hatakka, M.; Mikkola, J.; Anttila, V.-J.; Johansson, T.; Rantala, L.; Aalto, T.; Korkeala, H.; Siitonen, A. (University of Chicago Press, 2000)
    In February 1999, an outbreak of listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes serotype 3a occurred in Finland. All isolates were identical. The outbreak strain was first isolated in 1997 in dairy butter. This dairy began delivery to a tertiary care hospital (TCH) in June 1998. From June 1998 to April 1999, 25 case patients were identified (20 with sepsis, 4 with meningitis, and 1 with abscess; 6 patients died). Patients with the outbreak strain were more likely to have been admitted to the TCH than were patients with other strains of L. monocytogenes (60% vs. 8%; odds ratio, 17.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.8136.8). Case patients admitted to the TCH had been hospitalized longer before cultures tested positive than had matched controls (median, 31 vs. 10 days; P = .008). An investigation found the outbreak strain in packaged butter served at the TCH and at the source dairy. Recall of the product ended the outbreak.
  • Praakle-Amin, K.; Hänninen, M.-L.; Korkeala, H. (International Association for Food Protection, 2006)
  • Markkula, A.; Autio, T.; Lundén, J.; Korkeala, H. (International Association for Food Protection, 2005)
  • Autio, T.; Markkula, A.; Hellström, S.; Niskanen, T.; Lundén, J.; Korkeala, H. (International Association for Food Protection, 2004)
  • Nevas, M.; Korhonen, A.-R.; Lindström, M.; Turkki, P.; Korkeala, H. (International Association for Food Protection, 2004)

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