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Detection of Bovine Central Nervous System Tissue in Liver Sausages Using a Reverse Transcriptase PCR Technique and a Commercial Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

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The suitability of a reverse transcriptase (RT) PCR assay was evaluated for the detection of bovine central nervous system (CNS) tissue specifically in liver sausages. Because of its emulsifying effect, CNS tissue was frequently added to this kind of meat product in the past. On standard samples, the RT-PCR technique reliably detected a concentration of 0.25% bovine CNS tissue in liver sausages stored for up to 28 days. Following the successful application of RT-PCR for the detection of bovine CNS tissue in these specially prepared samples, a field study was performed with a total of 258 liver sausages purchased in retail markets. All sausages were tested with both an RT-PCR assay and a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kit. Nine (3.5%) of the retail liver sausage samples were positive for CNS tissue in the ELISA, but none were positive for this tissue in the RT-PCR assay. All positive ELISA results indicated the presence of 0.23 to 0.30% CNS tissue. Recent studies have indicated that the RT-PCR assay is not as sensitive for porcine CNS tissue as for bovine CNS tissue, which this assay can detect at 0.25%. Although the ELISA is not species specific, the CNS tissue detected by the ELISA is assumed to stem from a nonbovine species. The RT-PCR technique is a sensitive tool for the detection of bovine CNS tissues in a problematic matrix such as liver sausage. ELISA screening followed by a species-specific RT-PCR assay for bovine CNS tissue is a practical approach for monitoring meat products for compliance with European food regulations.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Food Quality and Food Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Bischofsholer Damm 15, Hannover D-30173, Germany 2: Institute for Food Science, University of Hannover, Wunstorfer Strasse 14, Hannover D-30453, Germany 3: Forschungszentrum für Medizintechnik und Biotechnologie e.V. (fzmb), Blumenstrasse 70, Haus 3, Erfurt D-99092, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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