Research Area

Our research team works on microbial food safety. The overall goal is to understand the role that food and agriculture play in transmitting human infectious diseases. Food and food production environment are important reservoir of human bacterial pathogens. Agriculture practice and food processing may select certain molecular features of foodborne bacteria, which may facilitate bacteria to contaminate and persist in the food chain, develop antimicrobial resistance or other virulence potential, and possibly cause human diseases. Specifically, we are interested in 

   1. Molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance in food and agriculture;    

   2. Molecular characterization of foodborne pathogens and microbial source tracking      

   3. Application of natural antimicrobials for food safety control;

   4. Development of novel microbial detection methods.


In the News

USDA NIFA grant aims to assure food safety in Detroit urban agriculture [Press release 6.24.2015]

Essential oil nanoemulsion for antimicrobial food safety control published in Food Microbiology [Press release 4.29.2015]

MRSA found in retail meat published in Emerging Infectious Diseases [Press release 5.16.2011]


Peer-reviewed Publications (* denotes the corresponding author)

Gunathilaka, G., V. Tahlan, A.I. Mafiz, M. Polur, and Y. Zhang*. Phages in urban wastewater have the potential to disseminate antibiotic resistance. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. 2017, 50(5): 678-683. [LINK]

Treemore-Spears, L.J., J.M. Grove, C.K. Harris, L.D. Lemke, C.J. Miller, K. Pothukuchi, Y. Zhang, and Y.L. Zhang. A workshop on transitioning cities at the food-energy-water nexus. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 2016, 6(1): 90-103. [LINK]

Sun, S, C.B. Canning, K. Bhargava, X. Sun, W. Zhu, N. Zhou, Y. Zhang, and K. Zhou. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers with potent and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity from the marine sponge Dysidea. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2015, 25(10): 2181-2183. [LINK]

Bhargava, K., D. Conti, S. da Rocha, and Y. Zhang*. Application of an oregano oil nanoemulsion to the control of foodborne bacteria on fresh lettuce. Food Microbiology. 2015, 47: 69-73. [LINK]

Sun, X., S. Sun, C. Ference, W. Zhu, N. Zhou, Y. Zhang, and K. Zhou. A potent antimicrobial compound isolated from Clathria cervicornis. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2015, 25(1): 67-69. [LINK]

Sun, X., S. Sui, C, Ference, Y. Zhang, S. Sun, N. Zhou, W. Zhu, and K. Zhou. Antimicrobial and mechanical properties of β-cyclodextrin inclusion essential oils-chitosan film. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2014, 62 (35): 8914–8918. [LINK]

Bhargava, K. and Y. Zhang*. Characterization of methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococci (MRCoNS) in retail meat. Food Microbiology. 2014, 42: 56-60. [LINK]

Sun, X., J. Bai, C. Ference, Z. Wang, Y. Zhang, J. Narciso, and K. Zhou. The antimicrobial activity of controlled-release chlorine dioxide gas on fresh blueberries. Journal of Food Protection. 2014, 77(7): 1127-1132. [LINK]

Talreja, D., C. Muraleedharan, G. Gunathilaka, Y. Zhang, K. S. Kaye, S. K. Walia, and A. Kumar. Virulence properties of multidrug resistant ocular isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii. Current Eye Research. 2014, 39(7): 695-704. [LINK]

Gao, R., P. Jing, S. Ruan, Y. Zhang, S. Zhao, Z. Cai, and B. Qian. Removal of off-flavors from radish (Raphanus sativus L.) anthocyanin-rich pigments using chitosan and its mechanism(s). Food Chemistry. 2014, 146: 423-428. [LINK]

Shen, J., L. Rump, Y. Zhang, Y. Chen, X. Wang, and J. Meng. Molecular subtyping and virulence gene analysis of Listeria monocytogenes isolates from food. Food Microbiology. 2013, 35: 58-64. [LINK]

da Rocha, L., G. Gunathilaka, and Y. Zhang*. Antimicrobial-resistant Listeria species from retail meat in metro Detroit. Journal of Food Protection. 2012, 75(12): 2136-41. [LINK]

Bhargava, K. and Y. Zhang*. Multidrug-resistant Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CoNS) in Food Animals. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2012, 113(5): 1027-36. [LINK]

Bhargava, K., X. Wang, S. Donabedian, M. Zervos, L. da Rocha, and Y. Zhang*. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Retail Meat, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2011, 17: 1135-1137. [LINK]

Zhang, Y.*, X. Wang, J. T. LeJeune, M. Zervos, and K. Bhargava. Comparison of Phenotypic Methods in Predicting Methicillin Resistance in Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS) from Animals. Research in Veterinary Science. 2011, 90: 23-25. [LINK]

Zhang, Y.*, S. Agidi, and J. T. LeJeune. Diversity of Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome in Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci from Animal Sources. Journal of Applied Microbiology. 2009, 107: 1375-1383. [LINK] 

Zhang, Y. and J. T. LeJeune. Transduction of blaCMY-2, tet(A), and tet(B) from Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Heidelberg to S. Typhimurium. Veterinary Microbiology. 2008, 129: 418-425. [LINK] 
Zhang, Y., E. Yeh, Y. Shen, A. Bhagwat, and J. Meng. Characterization of Listeria monocytogenes isolated from retail foods. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2007, 113: 47-53. [LINK]

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