13.10.2016 Evira Science Day

Animal diseases
Chaired by Senior Researcher, PhD Riikka Holopainen, Veterinary Virology Research Unit.

Mycoplasma bovis
Senior Researcher, DVM (PhD) Tiina Autio, Veterinary Bacteriology Research Unit
Mycoplasma bovis is a common cattle pathogen. It was diagnosed for the first time in Finland in late 2012. At present, it has spread to roughly 100 cattle, third of which are dairy cattle. In the research project 'Effects of and resistance to Mycoplasma bovis infection in Finnish cattle raising', the course of the disease is studied in 20 dairy cattle farms. The key risk factor is thought to be the introduction of new animals to a farm. In many farms, purchased animals or contract calves have been acquired, external heifer rearing services have been used, or the protection against diseases has been insufficient. In some of the farms, the infection may have originated from the sperm of one bull.

Antibiotic resistance of bovine respiratory pathogens
Senior Researcher Tarja Pohjanvirta, Veterinary Bacteriology Research Unit
For approximately two years, Evira has used the broth dilution method to monitor the antibiotic resistance of bacteria Pasteurella multocida, Mannheimia haemolytica and Histophilus somni, which cause respiratory infections in cattle. The bacteria had the most resistance to oxytetracycline (4.5 % of the strains tested in 2015) and penicillin (2 % of the strains tested in 2015). Antibiotic resistance is much more common among M. haemolytica compared to P. multocida, whereas all the tested strains of H. somni were sensitive to antibiotics. In 2015, bacteria strains resistant to antibiotics were found in nearly 10 % of the samples sent by meat production farms, while the corresponding number for dairy farms was 1.2 %.

Genetic diversity of infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) virus strains at Finnish fish farms
Senior Researcher, PhD Riikka Holopainen, Veterinary Virology Research Unit
The infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) of fish is a highly contagious viral disease that causes morbidity and mortality especially in young salmonids. IPN viruses have been found in Finland annually in connection with disease monitoring in marine fish farms, and from 2012 onwards also in freshwater fish farms. Sequencing was used to study the genome of viruses isolated in 20002015. Based on the results, the IPNV strains found in Finland belong to three different genogroups: the virus strains isolated from inland waterways belong to genogroup 2, while virus strains of genogroups 2, 5 and 6 are encountered in sea areas.

Poultry virus project - virus-carrying wild birds near poultry farms
Senior Researcher Niina Tammiranta, Veterinary Virology Research Unit
This research project funded by the Agriculture and Forestry Development Fund Makera charts the viral load of wild birds and the related risk to poultry farms and fowl kept for non-commercial purposes. The project also uses molecular-epidemiological techniques to study the origin of viruses that have caused disease outbreaks in poultry, in addition to developing methods for use in the diagnosis of viruses in poultry. Wild bird samples taken by bird ringers near poultry farms, jackdaw faecal samples and avian influenza monitoring samples have been studied under this project. The analysis of the research results is still ongoing, but so far, the findings have primarily been of coronaviruses. Whole-genome sequencing has also been conducted on several viruses. The research project began in 2015 and will last until 2018.

Rodenticides in non-target predators and scavengers
Senior Researcher, PhD, Docent Pertti Koivisto, Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit
The study focused on the occurrence of anticoagulant rodenticides in non-target scavangers of rodents or their carrion. Rodenticides may transfer to rodent-eating predators through rodents which have consumed the poison. In general, the observations corresponded relatively well with the sales figures of active ingredients. In Finland, rodenticides are only approved for biocide use;their use as pesticides in fields, for example, is not permitted. The results show that predators become exposed to rodenticides even if they are only used as biocides. The report from 2015 is available on the website of the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).

Chaired by Senior Researcher, DVM Annukka Markkula, Food and Feed Microbiology Research Unit.

Resistance monitoring in the food chain
Senior Researcher, DVM (PhD) Satu Olkkola, Food and Feed Microbiology Research Unit
The antibiotics division of Evira's Food and Feed Microbiology Research Unit studies indicator and zoonosis bacteria isolated from production animals under the FINRES-Vet resistance monitoring programme and national control programmes, as well as specific animal pathogens. The monitoring also covers the occurrence of bacteria that produce broad-spectrum beta-lactamase and strains of MRSA. The studies are based on EU legislation, in addition to which monitoring is also conducted in accordance with national decisions. The purpose of the monitoring is to obtain long-term data on the prevalence of resistance to antibiotics and the related developments in the Finnish livestock production sector.

Traditionally, the prevalence of resistance has been good in Finland; however, strains resistant to antibiotics have also been found. For example, relatively high resistance to fluoroquinolone has been found in recent years in campylobacteria strains in broilers, pigs and cattle, and MRSA strains have been found in pigs. Strains of E. coli that produce broad-spectrum beta-lactamase have been found in imported flocks of poultry, and they also occur throughout the Finnish broiler production chain.

FINRES-Vet reports on resistance monitoring are published in regular intervals and the next report (2013 - 2015 results) is currently being compiled.

Pathogen bacteria in raw milk
Senior Researcher, PhD Marjaana Hakkinen, Food and Feed Microbiology Research Unit
In 1997 - 2015, 15 reports on epidemics originating in raw milk or raw milk products, which have been caused by pathogen bacteria such as Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157). In connection with examining these epidemics and a project on the occurrence of pathogens in raw milk, it has been noted that the amount of indicator bacteria in raw milk does not indicate whether or not the milk contains pathogens. Risk management measures can be used to reduce the occurrence of STEC bacteria in dairy cattle, thus reducing the risk of milk contamination. Risk management measures do not appear to have any effect on the occurrence of campylobacteria. The risk of contamination in raw milk never goes away, though the risk can be reduced by ensuring a good level of hygiene in the cowhouse and during milking.

Oiva system assessment results
Researcher, PhD Peppi Haario, Risk Assessment Research Unit
My presentation is about the assessment results related to the Oiva disclosure system for food control data. A survey on the Oiva system directed at consumers, food control authorities and meat products industry and fishery entrepreneurs was carried out in spring 2016. The aim was to produce data on the effects of increased openness and to assess the effectiveness of control, as well as to examine the homogeneity of controls and whether the disclosure of food control data encourages businesses to improve their operations. Another goal was to examine whether consumers use the disclosed control data to their advantage and whether such data affects consumers' decisions.

Nordic campylobacteria source assessment
Senior Researcher, PhD, Docent Jukka Ranta, Risk Assessment Research Unit
The project studied the suitability of previous source of infection assessment models in the Nordic MLST-based data on campylobacteria, in addition to developing appropriate modelling solutions.
The network project included Denmark (coordinator), Sweden, Norway and Finland. This one-year project will end in November with a workshop in Denmark.

DNA bar coding in food authenticity researches
Senior Researcher, PhD, Docent Annikki Welling, Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit
Various DNA methods are constantly developed for researching the authenticity of food. DNA methods are particularly suitable for identifying food components or tracing the origin of food to a particular species of animal or plant. DNA barcoding is an effective method for identifying unknown ingredients in food. In this method, DNA is isolated from a sample and a short genome region for sequencing is created through PCR duplication. The sequence is compared to the sequences of the genetic data bank in order to identify the species. The method can only be used when DNA can be extracted from a sample, i.e., it is not applicable to analysing highly processed products whose DNA has been cleaved. Furthermore, sequence data on the species in question must be recorded in the genetic data bank. Metabarcoding is necessary for analysing complex foodstuffs composed of mixed ingredients. It involves using whole genome sequencing techniques to sequence all the species included in the foodstuff. Evira has used DNA barcoding, for example, in the control plan on fish species substitution, coordinated by the European Commission.