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UCD Centre for Food Safety

Ionad Sábháilteachta Bia UCD

Dr. Deirdre Prendergast

Postdoctoral Researcher (Backweston Laboratory Complex)
Genomics of Gram Negative Food Poisoning Bacteria of animal origin

Molecular serotyping and subtyping of Salmonella, Verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC), Campylobacter and Listeria monocytogenes.

Contact Details

Institution: University College Dublin based at the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, Backweston Complex, Celbridge, Co. Kildare  
Telephone No.: 01 6157133 
Email: deirdre.prendergast at / deirdre.prendergast at   

Brief Resume:

Deirdre Prendergast graduated from Carlow IT in 1998 with a First Class honours degree in Industrial Biology.  She completed her PhD at AFRC, Teagasc in conjunction with the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Her thesis investigated the contamination of meat and environment with central nervous system tissue during cattle slaughter.

2003-2008: Research officer at AFRC, Teagasc
2003-2005: EU Framework project entitled “Development and application of a time temperature indicator (TTI) based safety monitoring and assurance system for chilled beef products”.
2005-2008: FIRM funded project entitled “Risk analysis based control of Salmonella in pork on the island of Ireland (2003-2008)”. 

Research Interests
Deirdre joined Prof. S. Fannings group at UCD in July 2008 and is currently based in the bacteriology section at the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) in Backweston where she is setting up molecular sub-typing methods for Campylobacter, VTEC, Salmonella and L. monocytogenes. One of the specific tasks of the project is the transfer of molecular techniques for application at the NRL’s in Backweston and the establishment of a VetNet PFGE database compatible with those hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 


• Prendergast, D.M., Lendrum, L., Pearce, R., Ball, C., McLernon, J., O’ Grady, D., Scott, L., Fanning, S., Egan, J. and Gutierrez, M.  Verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli O157 in beef and sheep abattoirs in Ireland and characterisation of isolates by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and Multi-Locus Variable Number of Tandem Repeat Analysis.  Submitted to International Journal of Food Microbiology, May 2010.
• Prendergast, D.M., O Grady, D., McCann, A., McCabe, E., Fanning, S., Egan, J., Fanning, J. and Gutierrez, M. (2010) Application of PCR for rapid detection and serotyping of Salmonella spp. from porcine carcass swabs following enrichment in semi-solid agar.  Submitted to Food Research International, June 2010.
• Prendergast, D.M., O Grady, Fanning, S., Egan, J., Mannion, C., Fanning, J. and Gutierrez, M. (2010) Application of Multiple-Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis (MLVA) to subtype Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolated from pig farms and pork abattoirs in the Republic of Ireland over a 4-year period.  Paper in preparation.
• Duggan, S., Mannion, C., Prendergast, D.M, Leonard, N., Fanning, S., Gonzales-Barron, U., and Duffy, G. (2010) Tracking the Salmonella status of pigs through the slaughter process in the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Food Protection. In Press.
• Crowley, K.M., Prendergast, D.M., Sheridan, J.J. and McDowell, D.A. (2010) The influence of storing beef aerobically or in vacuum packs on the shelf life of mince. Journal of Applied Microbiology, In Press (DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04755.x).
• Crowley, K.M., Prendergast, D.M., Sheridan, J.J. and McDowell, D.A. (2010) Survival of Pseudomonas fluorescens on beef carcass surfaces in a commercial abattoir. Meat Science, 85, 550-554.
• Prendergast, D.M., Crowley, K.M., McDowell, D.A. and Sheridan, J.J. (2009) Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and non-pathogenic E. coli on irradiated and non-irradiated beef surfaces. Meat Science, 83, 468-473.
• Kinsella, K.J., Prendergast, D.M., McCann, M.S., Blair, I.S., McDowell, D.A. and Sheridan, J.J. (2009).  The survival of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 and Total Viable Counts on beef surfaces at different relative humidity’s and temperatures.  Journal of Applied Microbiology, 106, 171-180.
• Prendergast, D. M., Duggan, S.J., Gonzales-Barron, U., Fanning, S. Butler, F. Cormican, M, and Duffy, G. (2009) Prevalence, numbers and characteristics of Salmonella spp. on Irish retail pork. International Journal of Food Microbiology 131, 233-239. 
• Crowley, K.M., Prendergast, D.M., McDowell, D.A. and Sheridan, J.J. (2009). Changes in Escherichia coli O157:H7 numbers during holding on excised lean, fascia and fat beef surfaces at different temperatures.  Journal of Applied Microbiology, 107, 1542-1550.
• Gonzales Barron, U., Soumpasis, I., Butler, F., Prendergast, D., Duggan, S., and Duffy, G. (2009) Estimation of prevalence of Salmonella spp. on pig carcasses and pork joints using a quantitative risk assessment model aided by meta-analysis'. Journal of Food Protection, 72, 274-285.
• Prendergast, D. M., Duggan, S.J., Fanning, S. Cormican, M, Gonzales-Barron, U., Butler, F. and Duffy, G. (2008) Prevalence and numbers of Salmonella spp. and Enterobacteriaceae on pork cuts in abattoirs in the republic of Ireland. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 105, 1209-1219.
• Prendergast, D. M., Rowe, T.A. and Sheridan, J.J 2007. Survival of Listeria innocua on hot and cold beef carcass surfaces.  Journal of Applied Microbiology 103, 2721-2729.
• Prendergast, D. M., Sheridan, J.J, Daly, D.J., McDowell, D.A. and Blair, I.S. 2004. Dissemination of central nervous system tissue during the slaughter of cattle in three Irish abattoirs. The Veterinary Record 154: 21-24.
• Prendergast, D. M., Sheridan, J.J, Daly, D.J., McDowell, D.A. and Blair, I.S. 2004. The use of a marked strain of Pseudomonas fluorescens to model the spread of brain tissue to the musculature of cattle after shooting with a captive bolt gun. Journal of Applied Microbiology 96: 437-446.
• Prendergast, D. M., Daly, D.J., Sheridan, J.J, McDowell, D.A. and Blair, I.S. 2004. The effect of abattoir design on aerial contamination levels and the relationship between aerial and carcass contamination levels in two Irish beef abattoirs. Food Microbiology 21:589-596
• Prendergast, D. M., Sheridan, J.J, Daly, D.J., McDowell, D.A. and Blair, I.S. 2003. Dissemination of central nervous system tissue from the brain and spinal cord of cattle after captive bolt stunning and carcass splitting. Meat Science 65: 1201-1209.
• Daly, D.J., Prendergast, D. M. Sheridan, J.J, Blair, I.S. and McDowell, D.A. 2002. The use of a marker organism to model the spread of central nervous system (CNS) tissue in cattle and the abattoir environment during commercial stunning and carcass dressing. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 68 (2): 791-798.
• Prendergast, D.M., Daly, D.J., and Sheridan, J.J. 2001. Modelling the spread of brain tissue in cattle after shooting with a captive bolt gun. Farm and Food, p: 39.

Book Chapter
• Danaher, M. and Prendergast, D. M. (2009) Pathogens and Toxins in Food: Challenges and Interventions. Chapter 22: A European Food Safety Perspective on Residues of Veterinary Drugs and Growth-Promoting Agents Editors: Vijay K. Juneja and John N. Sofos ISBN 9781555814595.