Busy Year for the Microbiology Laboratory in 2016

JIFSAN hosted a total of nine Microbiology laboratory trainings in 2016, an increase from 2015. This year, the microbiology laboratory developed two new laboratory trainings, which took place in April. The first was a private course in partnership with the American Herbal Products Association. This three-day course included lectures on dietary supplements and microbial considerations, avoiding new dietary ingredient pitfalls, and probiotic testing. The hands-on laboratory included demonstrations by 3M, BioMerieux and DuPont along with exercises on aseptic sampling, plate counts and biochemical testing.

April continued with the introduction of a new course entitled "Analysis of Microbial Contaminants in Seafood." This course was led by Dr. Angelo (Andy) DePaola (retired FDA), Dr. Chengchu (Cathy) Liu (UMD Extension) and Dr. Angela Winslow (JIFSAN). Lectures centered on the detection of Vibrio sp. in oysters as well as E.coli, Listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus from various seafood commodities. The class traveled to Cambridge, MD to see the oyster processing facility at University of Maryland’s Horn Point Oyster Hatchery. Despite learning about the risks of eating oysters, the group even enjoyed a sampling of oysters at Stump Cove Oyster Company while visiting the setting, nursery and grows out operations.

The rest of the year continued with courses on USDA Microbiological Methods (May), which included lectures and laboratory sessions from USDA subject matter experts; as well as the growing interest in next generation sequencing technology with our Whole Genome Sequencing trainings (September and November). FDA, NCBI, and CDC presented material, which included the transition from PFGE to WGS, PulseNet, BioNumerics, and how the Genome Trakr database is used to trace back contamination events.

This years trainings also included several fellowships, one group from Egypt and Jordan and three individual groups from Saudi FDA (SFDA). The group from Egypt/Jordan learned about ISO17025 and visited a dairy processing facility, South Mountain Creamery where they were introduced to the U.S. methods for dairy processing while enjoying complimentary ice cream. The three groups from SFDA came in July, August, and November. The following topics were covered: E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio, and viruses. The three individual groups were able to attend/visit the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual meeting, Horn Point Oyster Hatchery and participate in hands-on learning at the FDA in Laurel, MD. They learned methods for Norovirus, Vibrio detection, Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and Whole Genome Sequencing respectively.

We are indeed excited about the growth of our microbiology trainings and hope to continue for the 2017 calendar year. If you are interested in personalized or private trainings for your group or organization, please contact us at