US Food and Drug Andmistration
Dr. Kristin Bjornsdottir-Butler is a research microbiologist at the US Food and Drug Administration’s Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory in Dauphin Island, AL, USA. Dr. Bjornsdottir-Butler graduated with a BS degree in Food Science from the University of Iceland in 2003. After which she went to North Carolina State University where she received her Master’s and PhD degrees in Food Science with a minor in Food Safety. After graduation, Kristin received a post-doctoral position at the FDA in 2007 and was permanently hired as a research microbiologist in 2012. Dr. Bjornsdottir-Butler has authored 18 publications, is currently working on a book chapter on Scombrotoxin Fish Poisoning, and has presented at numerous scientific meetings.
Detection and control of emerging histamine-producing bacteria
Scombrotoxin (histamine) fish poisoning (SFP) is one of the most frequent causes of fish poisoning illness throughout the world. Recent developments in detection of histamine-producing bacteria (HPB) and the emergence of next generation sequencing have shed new light on the bacteria that may be responsible for histamine production in fish. Currently, time-temperature control is the main strategy for preventing histamine formation in fish products. With the discovery of HPB growth at low temperatures, however, storage at low temperatures may be insufficient to control these bacteria. In addition, ingredients of value added products (e.g. tuna salad) can introduce new HPB. We have applied next generation sequencing for detection and identification of psychrotrophic and Erwinia HPB spp. Recognizing histamine-producing species is important in order to characterize conditions that can lead to toxic levels of histamine production in fish. Furthermore, examining histamine production at low temperature allows us to verify current time-temperature guidance.