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Research at the NRL for Campylobacter

In contrast to most other food-associated pathogens, Campylobacter spp. are fastidious bacteria, which are difficult to cultivate in vitro. However, cultivation and detection of live bacteria from food serves as a basis for realistic risk assessment of food products contaminated by Campylobacter spp.. Moreover, Campylobacter spp. exhibit a high genetic variability, which enable the bacteria to adapt to changing environments and to increase their potential to survive in the host organism as well as in the food chain.

Research focus at the NRL for Campylobacter

Due to the particularity of the bacterium, research is focussed on the following main topics:

  • Development, validation and standardisation of new molecular methods for the detection and genotyping of Campylobacter spp.
  • Development of alternative methods for the cultivation-independent quantification of living Campylobacter
  • Application of cultivation-independent methods for improved analysis of the persistence of Campylobacter in food and for the identification of transmission routes
  • Surveillance of the distribution and spread of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter isolates as well as characterisation of resistance determinants at the molecular level
  • Horizontal gene transfer in Campylobacter spp. as driving force for genome variability and adaptation to changing ecological niches (animal host, food products, and human host).
  • Identification of unknown and modified Campylobacter strains

Third party projects



Date Title Size
Laboratory Protocol of the National Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter, v1.0
Preparation of quantitative thermophilic Campylobacter spp. reference material for use in proficiency tests or ring trials for method validation 531.3 KB



Contact person
Dr. Kerstin Stingl (Head of)



Dr. Janine Heise (Deputy Head of)




Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
FGr 42 - NRL for Campylobacter
Diedersdorfer Weg 1
12277 Berlin

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