The Queensland University of Technology researcher, Erin Price has developed a set of methods that uses genetic markers to pinpoint the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni.
"Campylobacter jejuni is the commonest cause of bacterial food-borne gastroenteritis in westernised countries," Price said.
"It is more common than salmonella, yet most people have never heard of it," she said.
The symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhoea, which can last from two days to two weeks.
However, Price said that despite the high rates of infection, it was still not known as to how the bacteria were transmitted to humans.
"We think that it is mainly transmitted in foodstuffs, and predominantly from improperly handled and undercooked poultry, although there are potentially many other sources of infection," she said.
"One hampering factor in detecting Campylobacter jejuni is the lack of standardised, routine, simple and cost-effective methods of fingerprinting or identifying the bacteria.
Prince has developed a systematic and novel genotyping method to be used by clinicians and scientists, which creates a fingerprint of the bacteria using genetic markers.
The fingerprint can then be used to characterise the bacterial strain present.
She said that by improving methods for characterising Campylobacter jejuni strains, clinicians and scientists were able to monitor and understand the transmission of these bacteria to humans