Theme 3: Risk Assessment

Project 7: Rapid diagnostic tests for foodborne pathogens


To validate the use of indicator, surrogate and marked organisms for risk modelling and assessment in research and commercial contexts and to develop sensitive and specific techniques which are both rapid and cost effective for the detection and enumeration of foodborne pathogens at critical points in the fresh-produce supply chain.


Identify and select potential indicator organisms by:

  • Reviewing published literature.

  • Analysing microbial communities from contamination sources and fresh produce over time using next generation sequencing to determine the range of microorganisms associated with pathogen presence and survival.

Develop rapid, cost effective and sensitive assays to detect and enumerate both pathogens and indicator organisms by:

  • Reviewing published literature to identify promising emerging techniques for the rapid and specific detection of microorganisms, which may include development of marked or surrogate organisms, in addition to molecular, immunofluorescence or sensing approaches.

  • Development of novel detection assays relevant to the Australian food industry.

  • Evaluation of emerging detection techniques through comparison with more established conventional methods.

Model pathogen and indicator organism survival on a range of fresh produce in different conditions throughout the supply chain and identify critical control points for pathogen monitoring using indicator organisms.

Photo: Photo:   E. coli GFP   by Ryan Kitko  (CC BY 2.0)

Photo: Photo: E. coli GFP by Ryan Kitko (CC BY 2.0)



Project personnel

Rosalind DEAKER, Chief Investigator

Neil WILSON, Chief Investigator


Mark BRADBURYPost-Doctoral Associate

Hannah SASSI, Post-Doctoral Associate