Using genomics plus simple laboratory screens to establish a framework for identifying and responding to the changing landscape of Salmonella in turkey production

2020 Research Project by Dr. Tim Johnson, UMN

Researcher: Timothy Johnson, Professor, University of Minnesota
Industry partners / collaborators: Jennie-O-Turkey Store, Drs. Petri Papinaho and Michelle Kromm, V.P. of Res. and Develop., Chief Veterinarian and Dir. of Tech. Services
MTRPC funding amount: $69,000

Project proposal


The goal of this project is to improve genomic tools available to commercial turkey production for Salmonella surveillance. This project is in response to collaborations with industry partners, where specific needs were recognized, including ability to identify when strain shifts are occurring among circulating Salmonella, ability to determine when a strain shift represents a potential increased threat to human health, and a pipeline for rapidly generating and using public and private data for these needs. These needs will be addressed using the following goals:

  • Goal 1: Scan existing databases of sequenced Salmonella, and perform extensive phylogenetic and pangenome analyses on 8 serotypes of interest to turkey production
  • Goal 2: Develop a Salmonella virulence/fitness gene database to establish risk when there are strain shifts in production settings
  • Goal 3: Utilize laboratory screens to explore strain-specific colonization, persistence, and invasion properties
  • Goal 4: Develop a rapid on-farm tool for identification of Salmonella and other poultry pathogens using portable handheld sequencing

This pipeline approach to surveillance, risk assessment, and mitigation will be implemented at the MCROC laboratory in Willmar (illustrated below).

Progress Reports

None to date