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Food safety and resilience of food supply chains in biohazard situations (Ess-B.A.R.)


This third-party funded project is conducted in the framework of the BfR research programme on the safety of national and international supply chains.

BMBF grant number: 13N13982

Project homepage: -

Project description:

The project "Food safety and resilience of food supply chains in biohazard situations", (Ess-B.A.R.) uses the examples of the bacterial pathogens Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Francisella tularensis (tularaemia) and Brucella spp. (brucellosis) entering the food chain. The three pathogens have in common that they are classified as particularly hazardous and that food-borne infections are possible.

Since anthrax, rabbit fever and brucellosis rarely occur in Germany, official food monitoring is not set for the routine detection of these highly pathogenic bacteria. In addition, the detection of the pathogens requires specialist knowledge which only few laboratories have. For handling so-called large-scale biological emergencies as part of which highly infectious pathogens are deliberately or inadvertently allowed to enter the food chain, new strategies and solutions are therefore required.

One focus of the Ess-B.A.R. project is the development of diagnostic procedures with which highly infectious zoonotic pathogens can be detected early in the food chain. The usual pathogen detection methods require the time-consuming cultivation of bacteria. Consequently, the goal isto use so-called OMICS technologies (NGS, Next Generation Sequencing; MS, Mass Spectrometry) to develop universally applicable methods for the cultivation-independent detection of food-associated pathogens.

The second research focus is the development of IT tools for analysing complex data. The aim here is for these tools to enable better analysis of the spread of a pathogen and to identify the outbreak sources more quickly.

BfR parts of the project:

The five work packages (WP1-5) of the project Ess-B.A.R. are divided into two research foci: Diagnostic Procedures (WP1-4) and IT Tools (WP5). As project coordinator, the BfR is involved in all five WP.

Project partners:

  • Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Germany
  • Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany
  • AG, Germany
  • PolyAn GmbH, Germany


Press releases

Date Title Keywords
Anthrax, rabbit fever and brucellosis: How can the population be better protected from highly pathogenic bacteria in food? brucellosis , research


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