On the 10th of May 2017, PhD degree was awarded to Oladunjoye Adebola Olubukola by Durban University of Technology, South Africa.
Title of Thesis: Effect of bacteriophage control and artificial neural networks prediction in the inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes on fresh produce.
Listeria monocytogenes is one of the leading food borne pathogens that has been associated with fresh produce. It causes listeriosis especially in at risk individuals such as infants, pregnant women, old people and people living with HIV/AIDS.
The aim of the research was to control L. monocytogenes ATCC 7644 growth in selected fresh produce using the L. monocytogenes bacteriophage and to predict the risk involved using artificial neural networks. Fresh produce experimentally inoculated with L. monocytogenes was challenged with phage treatment. Furthermore, a ‘GRAS’ (Generally Recognized As Safe) approved antimicrobial compound (Sucrose monolaurate) was combined with the bacteriophage to reduce the pathogen with chlorine as a control. Risk assessment of the aforementioned antimicrobial treatment was predicted using artificial neural networks and the carbon utilization profile of the phage -treated pathogen was evaluated using a phenotypic microarray method. Significant reduction of the pathogen on the fresh produce was obtained and a better prediction was offered by the neural networks. This suggests it has potential utilization in the fresh produce industry to reduce disease outbreaks associated with L. monocytogenes contamination.
This is the first report on the use of artificial neural networks prediction in phage biocontrol of food borne pathogen. In total, 3 papers were published in ISI accredited journals. Research findings from this work have also been presented at both local and international conferences.
Congratulations to Dr Oladunjoye.