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Pill some day may prevent serious foodborne illness, scientist says

Modified probiotics, the beneficial bacteria touted for their role in digestive health, could one day decrease the risk of Listeria infection in people with susceptible immune systems, according to Purdue University research.

Arun Bhunia, a professor of food science; Mary Anne Amalaradjou, a Purdue postdoctoral researcher; and Ok Kyung Koo, a former Purdue doctoral student, found that the same Listeria protein that allows the bacteria to pass through intestinal cells and into bloodstreams can help block those same paths when added to a probiotic.

"Based on the research, it looks very promising that we would get a significant reduction in Listeria infections," said Bhunia, whose findings were published this month in the journal PLoS One.

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