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Human and animal pathogens on plants

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The work focuses on enteric human pathogenic bacteria, which pose a food safety threat to consumers through contamination of raw or minimally processed fresh produce.

The main aim of our research is to understand the basis to the molecular interactions that underpin bacteria-plant interactions. The work focuses on enteric human pathogenic bacteria, which pose a food safety threat to consumers through contamination of raw or minimally processed fresh produce.

Although normally associated with human and animal hosts, these bacteria spend at least part of their of life cycle out with mammalian hosts and need to adjust to quite different environments. We investigate the interactions with plant species that are most relevant to recent food-borne outbreaks, including spinach, lettuce and tomato. The work adds a fascinating angle to the truly adaptive nature of these pathogens.

Some of the work also investigates the plant defence response to both human and plant pathogenic bacteria. A deeper knowledge of plant immunity adds to the arsenal of integrated crop management as well as to food safety.

Read more about our research projects.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.