Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in food and options for intervention

Authors: Anja Buschulte and Philipp Hammer

Ger. J. Microbiol. 2022. vol. 2, Iss. 2 pp:16-27


Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of Paratuberculosis in cattle and other domestic ruminants. Due to similarities in pathophysiology, there is an ongoing discussion on whether MAP may be a causative agent for Crohn’s disease (CD) in humans as well. One aspect of this discussion includes the significance of food as a possible vector for transmission. The aim of this review was to collect information on the occurrence of MAP in food and on available intervention options for reduction or elimination during processing to follow precautionary principles in case a zoonotic role of MAP would be evidenced. Except for research on the occurrence and treatment of cow’s milk, studies for MAP in food are rare. Investigations dealing with intervention measures are often based on very few or even single studies with a few number of test strains and repetitions. As an essential research need, the development and validation of accurate and robust detection methods for live MAP cells in food and human samples were identified. Such methods are needed to i) conduct systematic and representative surveys on the occurrence of MAP in food, ii) assess the risk of MAP transmission via food, and iii) evaluate experimental or commercial food processing for their efficacy in controlling MAP. Furthermore, for experimental setup, standardized protocols and technologies are crucial.


Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, Food, Crohn’s disease, Control, Intervention


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