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Evaluation of Methods To Improve Detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Fresh Produce by Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction

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Abstract:

Multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis was used to detect two genes encoding Shiga-like toxins (stx1 and stx 2) and a universal Escherichia coli gene (gadA/B) in fresh produce spiked with E. coli O157:H7. Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration procedures for the analysis of fresh produce include the use of the rinsate from an initial rinse for the analysis of several potential pathogens, including E. coli O157:H7. In this study, several procedures were evaluated for their ability to increase the sensitivity of PCR analysis of rinsates from 15 types of produce. The procedures evaluated included the preliminary clarification and concentration of templates by centrifugation and the treatment of templates with compounds reported to facilitate nucleic acid amplification, including polyvinlypolypyrrolidone (PVPP), nonfat dry milk (NFDM), and InstaGene. The preliminary concentration of rinsates resulted in moderate improvements in detection sensitivity. The use of PVPP-treated templates in PCR reaction mixtures did not further improve sensitivity, but the inclusion of NFDM-treated templates increased sensitivity by an order of magnitude for 12 rinsates. The incorporation of InstaGene also improved the detection capability of the analysis; this procedure yielded the strongest gel bands for eight rinsates. However, for four other rinsates, the use of this reagent decreased sensitivity; these four rinsates were those for the produce varieties with the largest surface areas and were the most turbid rinsates. The use of facilitating compounds to block PCR inhibition may enable an analysis for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in fresh produce to be completed in 1 to 2 days, rather than the 5 days required for current methods.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Bothell, Washington 98021-4421, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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