The bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of food poisoning in humans. It is normally transmitted from contaminted chicken meat, as it is frequently found in the intestines of chickens, where it apparently does not result in any symptoms. Campylobacter jejuni is well adapted to life in the intestines of animals – and humans – so it is surprising that it is able to survive on the surface of meat, which is generally stored in a much more oxygen-rich atmosphere. Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have now solved the puzzle, showing that Campylobacter can survive ambient oxygen levels thanks to the presence of other bacteria, species of Pseudomonas. The interaction between the different species seems to be a mechanism for Campylobacter to remain viable on chicken meat and thus to infect humans. The results are published in the current issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and provide important clues to combating enteritis in humans.