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Bacterial food contamination : researchers from Université Côte d'Azur make an essential discovery that improves understanding of the infectious mechanisms of bacteria

Recent news has demonstrated once again that food poisoning can be fatal. The World Health Organization predicts that more people will die from bacterial infections in 2050 than from cancer, especially now that bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotic treatment. This makes it essential to gain a better understanding of the infectious mechanisms of bacteria. The Department of Medical Biology of the Monaco Scientific Center and physicists of the Université Côte d'Azur's mathematics laboratory have taken a major step towards understanding the infectious mechanisms of bacteria and especially those responsible for food poisoning.


Publication : 30/04/2019
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The team led by Dorota Czerucka at the Monaco Scientific Center is working on infections caused by pathogenic bacteria that infect the digestive tract: Salmonella and Escherichia coli. These are motile bacteria, which means they have a flagellum that allows them to swim on the surface of the cells and find the entrance to the body.

To learn more about the way pathogenic E. colibacteria explore the surface, Dorota Czerucka's team collaborated with the team of Fernando Peruani, physicist at the J.A. Dieudonné mathematics laboratory of Université Côte d'Azur. The mathematical model created by Fernando Peruani's team allowed researchers to understand that surface exploration was the result of interactions with the fluid, combined with adhesion to the surface. 

Thanks to this transdisciplinary collaboration, researchers gained a better understanding of the bacteria's relationship with the surface and were able to build a model of bacterial movement. In the future, this could be used to alter some of the bacteria's characteristics and reduce their infectious capacity.

These results open up new therapeutic perspectives. Since organisms are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, a better understanding of how pathogenic bacteria function and travel will make it possible for researchers to find new and more effective treatments to replace or supplement current ones.

The study was published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature Physics, on March 25, 2019.

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