Helicobacter pylori: Characteristics, pathogenicity, detection methods and mode of transmission implicating foods and water

Madeline Velázquez, Joellen M. Feirtag

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Helicobacter pylori is an organism involved in the pathogenesis of human active chronic gastritis, peptic and duodenal ulcer diseases and gastric cancer. This review article covers this emerging human pathogen in terms of its phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, methods for culturing, its role in gastric pathogenicity, evidence involving its mode of transmission, difficulty in its isolation and detection methodology. In terms of transmission, both foodborne and waterborne pathways have been speculated as the mode of transmission for H. pylori as the patterns of the infection are consistent with those from fecal-oral and oral-oral transmission. Therefore, it is important to also evaluate methods for the detection of H. pylori from specifically food products and water. The detection of this pathogen has proved difficult since changes in cell morphology, metabolism and growth patterns occur when H. pylori is exposed to different environmental stimuli. The development of a viable but non-culturable coccoid (VNC) form is observed. These VNC forms do not undergo cellular division and cannot be cultured by traditional methods, increasing the difficulty in their detection. Since both viability and virulence in the VNC form of H. pylori are retained, the examination of food products and water for these forms is critical. Current methods include filtration, immuno-separation (IMS), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), probe hybridization, immuno-staining, autoradiography and ATP bioluminescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 15 1999

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Detection methods
  • Foods
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Pathogen
  • Pathogenicity
  • Transmission
  • Water


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