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Bacteria

Bacteria are microorganisms which are composed of one single cell. They occur everywhere in our body and in the environment. As opposed to viruses, bacteria can multiply themselves. They divide in the middle and constitute autonomous cells. This is referred to as bacterial growth or bacterial multiplication.

Useful bacteria can become dangerous, too

Many bacteria are vital for humans, like those which prevent a multiplication of pathogens. However, in some cases even useful bacteria can become pathogens and cause an infection. These infections are possible in humans with a weakened immune system or if bacteria penetrate our body e.g. through wounds.

This is often the case for zoonoses, i.e. for pathogens which are transmitted from animals to humans.

What does BfR do?

BfR assesses risks which are caused by damaging bacteria in foods. Bacteria can reach foods through environmental contaminants, poor hygiene and microorganisms from agriculture and more. Such microbial pathogens, which are transmitted from animals via foods to humans, are referred to as zoonotic agents. Diseases which can be transmitted from animals to humans are consequently referred to as "zoonoses".

Analyses and risk assessments at BfR focus on the following bacterial species/zoonotic agents. They cause the classical symptoms of foodborne diseases: nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting

  • Acrobacter spp.
  • Bacillus cereus
  • Campylobacter spp.
  • Clostridia
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Escherichia coli
  • Enterobacter spp.
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Mycobacteria
  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococci
  • Yersinia
  • Vibrio

Many bacteria can develop toxins (toxic substances) and deploy a harmful effect in this way. As far as toxigenic microorganisms are concerned, it is differentiated between bacteria which can develop their toxin already in the food and those who release their toxins only after uptake by humans in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Press releases

 (11)
Date Title Keywords
04.11.2019
42/2019
Bacteriophages: old masters rediscovered antimicrobial resistance, bacteria
14.05.2019
16/2019
Common diarrhoea pathogen unknown to many people food infection , risk communication , risk perception
08.11.2018
40/2018
Resistant bacteria: can raw vegetables and salad pose a health risk? antimicrobial resistance, bacteria
10.07.2017
28/2017
Food made from leaves and grasses may contain pathogens campylobacter , Escherichia coli , food , food infection , food safety , salmonella
26.04.2017
15/2017
Antimicrobial resistance: successful interdisciplinary efforts antimicrobial resistance, ESBL/AmpC-producing strains, research
26.07.2016
28/2016
Anthrax, rabbit fever and brucellosis: How can the population be better protected from highly pathogenic bacteria in food? brucellosis , research
22.01.2015
03/2015
BfR study on risk perception: the majority of German consumers believe that animal farming is the cause of antimicrobial resistance antimicrobial resistance, risk communication
01.11.2013
28/2013
Antimicrobial resistance: from monitoring to preventive measures methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
09.08.2013
22/2013
Melons can transfer pathogenic germs food hygiene , food infection , food safety , Listeria monocytogenes , salmonella
08.02.2012
04/2012
Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in the stable - what risk does it pose to humans?
10.01.2012
01/2012
Bacteria resistant to antimicrobials found on broiler meat not a new development

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