Salmonella Laboratory

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells

Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH
Source (public domain)

Microbiology research division
Bureau of Microbial Hazards, Health Canada

Research scientist: Dr. Sandeep Tamber

Research technical support: Mary Rao


Salmonellosis is one of the most frequently reported bacterial foodborne infections in Canada. It has three clinical manifestations; typhoid or enteric fever, non-typhoidal salmonellosis (NTS), or invasive non-typhoidal salmonellosis (i-NTS). In Canada, the majority of salmonellosis cases are NTS.

Salmonella is a diverse genus comprising two species, six sub-species and over 2600 serological variants (serovars or serotypes). It inhabits the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals including mammals, birds, fish and insects. Thus it is frequently associated with foods of animal origin such as poultry and pork. However, it has the potential to contaminate a variety of food stuffs including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seasonings, and dairy. Indeed, new vehicles for Salmonella exposure and transmission continue to be identified as was underscored by an outbreak linked to sprouted chia and flax seed powders in 2014.

The work of the Salmonella Research Laboratory aims to understand the adaptations this pathogen uses to survive in foods. Specifically, we are interested in the relationship between environmental factors and the virulence, resistance and fitness of Salmonella populations. Ultimately, this information can be used to identify, assess and manage the risks associated with this important human pathogen.


  • Incidence and levels of Salmonella in foods
  • Survival and growth of Salmonella in foods
  • Interventions to control for the presence of Salmonella in foods
  • Detection and spread of antibiotic resistance among Salmonella


  • Genomics R&D Initiative Phase VI shared priority project: Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Large-scale applied research project: A syst-OMICS approach to ensuring food safety and reducing the economic burden of salmonellosis


  • The Salmonella research laboratory provides surge capacity during food safety investigations
  • The laboratory uses the Compendium of Analytical Method MFHPB-20 for the detection of Salmonella in foods and a most probable number (MPN) method based on MFHPB-20 for the enumeration of Salmonella in foodstuffs


  • Recent publications can be found on PubMed using "Tamber S" as the search term
  • Trmcic A, Chen H, Trząskowska M, Tamber S, Wang S. Biofilm-forming capacity of five Salmonella strains and their fate on postharvest mini cucumbers. J Food Prot. 2018 Nov;81(11):1871-1879. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-18-180.
  • Tamber S. Population-wide survey of Salmonella enterica response to high-pressure processing reveals a diversity of responses and tolerance mechanisms. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2018 Jan 2;84(2). pii: e01673-17. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01673-17. Print 2018 Jan 15.
  • Colavecchio A, D'Souza Y, Tompkins E, Jeukens J, Freschi L, Emond-Rheault JG, Kukavica-Ibrulj I, Boyle B, Bekal S, Tamber S, Levesque RC, Goodridge LD. Prophage integrase typing is a useful indicator of genomic diversity in Salmonella enterica. Front Microbiol. 2017 Jul 10;8:1283. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01283. eCollection 2017.
  • Emond-Rheault JG, Jeukens J, Freschi L, Kukavica-Ibrulj I, Boyle B, Dupont MJ, Colavecchio A, Barrere V, Cadieux B, Arya G, Bekal S, Berry C, Burnett E, Cavestri C, Chapin TK, Crouse A, Daigle F, Danyluk MD, Delaquis P, Dewar K, Doualla-Bell F, Fliss I, Fong K, Fournier E, Franz E, Garduno R, Gill A, Gruenheid S, Harris L, Huang CB, Huang H, Johnson R, Joly Y, Kerhoas M, Kong N, Lapointe G, Larivière L, Loignon S, Malo D, Moineau S, Mottawea W, Mukhopadhyay K, Nadon C, Nash J, Ngueng Feze I, Ogunremi D, Perets A, Pilar AV, Reimer AR, Robertson J, Rohde J, Sanderson KE, Song L, Stephan R, Tamber S, Thomassin P, Tremblay D, Usongo V, Vincent C, Wang S, Weadge JT, Wiedmann M, Wijnands L, Wilson ED, Wittum T, Yoshida C, Youfsi K, Zhu L, Weimer BC, Goodridge L, Levesque RC. A Syst-OMICS approach to ensuring food safety and reducing the economic burden of salmonellosis. Front Microbiol. 2017 Jun 2;8:996. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00996. eCollection 2017.
  • Catford A, Ganz K, Tamber S. Enumerative analysis of Salmonella in outbreak-associated breaded and frozen comminuted raw chicken products. J Food Prot. 2017 Apr 3:814-818. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-496.
  • Ronholm J, Petronella N, Tamber S. Draft genome sequences of two Salmonella enterica strains isolated from sprouted chia and flax seed powders. Genome Announc. 2016 Sep 22;4(5). pii: e00963-16. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00963-16.
  • Ronholm J, Petronella N, Tamber S. Draft Genome sequences of 11 Salmonella enterica strains with variable levels of barotolerance. Genome Announc. 2016 Sep 22;4(5). pii: e00952-16. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00952-16.
  • Tamber S, Swist E, Oudit D. Physicochemical and bacteriological characteristics of organic sprouted chia and flax seed powders implicated in a foodborne salmonellosis outbreak. J Food Prot. 2016 May;79(5):703-9. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-15-529.
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