Zoetis Inc. and The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Wednesday announced a partnership to further research on Salmonella in cattle and jointly investigate how Salmonella enters and persists within the bovine lymphatic system and can lead to contamination of beef for human consumption.
The Roslin Institute research team will work with Zoetis to help develop and implement solutions to reduce the prevalence of Salmonella in meat.
"Salmonella infections in cattle are significant for two reasons," said Roslin Professor Mark Stevens, PhD, chair of microbial pathogenesis. "It can cause gastroenteritis and abortion in the animals, thereby harming their productivity and welfare, and contamination of beef and the farm environment can lead to infections in people."
Cattle are a significant source of human Salmonella infections, he added. Although the animal's lymphatic system normally helps fight infection, some types of Salmonella have adapted to evade the immune system and survive in lymph nodes.
"A key gap in our knowledge is how Salmonella enters the lymphatic system in the first place and then persists within it, constraining our ability to design strategies to control infection," Stevens noted. "We will examine the role of host and bacterial factors in this process and use the results of our research study to identify new and better targets that could help us control Salmonella infections in cattle."
Along with Zoetis' participation, support for the research will also be sourced from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
For three years, the BBSRC will contribute 80%of funding for the study — close to $1 million — and Zoetis will provide the remaining 20% of funding and in-kind services via research materials and expertise.
Funding from the BBSRC allows The Roslin Institute to work strategically with Zoetis on the research, which impacts animal and human health and safety of the food supply across the globe, said Michelle Haven, DVM, PhD, senior vice president, Corporate Development, Alliances and Solutions at Zoetis.
"Salmonella remains a health concern worldwide and is estimated to cause about 94 million cases of foodborne disease in humans and 155,000 deaths each year," Haven said. "This study is fundamental for developing intervention strategies."