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Several epidemic episodes connected to the consumption of food matrixes contaminated by protozoa have been described in recent years.  Nevertheless, at the present time it remains difficult to assess the sanitary and economic risks associated with the alimentary transmission of these pathogens. Their prevalence in food has only been slightly investigated due to the absence of a reference extraction and detection method, and if data regarding their resistance capacity in the environment is available, the behaviour of these parasites in complex alimentary matrixes is not well-known. In this context, the objectives of the PROTOFOOD project are:
i) to put into place a global strategy which will permit the extraction from bivalve molluscs and vegetable matter, the detection and the characterisation of the protozoa most frequently  involved  in alimentary infections: Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Toxoplasma,
ii) and to better apprehend the dynamics of food contamination, by studying the mechanisms for bioaccumulation and depuration of bivalve molluscs and the persistence of these parasites on the surfaces of vegetable matrixes,
iii) to characterise the effect that the domestic cooking of molluscs has on the viability of these parasites.

This project was labellised by the AQUIMER Pole of Competitiveness on 23 April 2009, and the Pôle Européen d'Innovation Fruits et Légumes.


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