Nebraska was tapped in 2011 by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to lead a a$25 million project to investigate Shiga toxin-producing E. coli that can contaminate beef. Those strains can cause life-threatening bloody diarrhea and kidney failure. The project, which continued through 2017, resulted in at least 77 referred journal articles and led to improved detection methods; a better understanding of how STEC proliferates; improved eradication techniques for meat-packing plants and food safety education for consumers and K-12 schools. The project was led by Rodney Moxley, professor of veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences, who later became involved with a Nebraska-led national institute addressing antimicrobial resistance.
Dennis Burson’s research interests are in applying hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) and food safety projects for the meat industry and maintaining and improving meat quality while adding antimicrobials to improve food safety. He runs multiple extension programs that increase the knowledge and awareness of the livestock industry on quality, consistency, and value differences in market animals.
Dr. Hutkins, Khem Shahani Distinguished Professor of Food Science, studies bacteria important in human health and in fermented foods. He specializes in prebiotic and probiotic foods.
Dr. Moxley is project director of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli Coordinated Agricultural Project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Research in his laboratory addresses the detection, prevention and control of the STEC strain of E. coli in cattle and beef. He also has projects that focus on the pathogenesis of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) in swine.