Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Schmidt, Ty

Committee Member

Martin, J. Mike

Committee Member

Donaldson, Janet

Committee Member

Callaway, Todd

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agriculture and Life Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences


Cattle are naturally colonized by enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli within the gastrointestinal tract. The most notorious of the enterohemorrhagic E. coli is E. coli O157:H7, which can cause serious illness to humans if ingested. To ensure that the United States has a safe food supply, research is ongoing in pre-harvest food safety and pathogen intervention strategies. While advances in pre-harvest intervention strategies are encouraging, no method has proven to completely eliminate and/or control O157:H7. A key limitation to successful pathogen intervention strategies is the inability to track and monitor pathogens in a real-time fashion. Through the use of bioluminescent plasmids harboring the luxCDABE cassette, pathogen tracking could be a viable solution. Bioluminescent plasmids are capable of facilitating the tracking, pathogenesis and physical locations of pathogens, thus enabling researchers to have a better understanding of the pathogenic process.