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Real-Time Quantitative PCR of Staphylococcus aureus and Application in Restaurant Meals

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Staphylococcus aureus is considered the second most common pathogen to cause outbreaks of food poisoning, exceeded only by Campylobacter. Consumption of foods containing this microorganism is often identified as the cause of illness. In this study, a rapid, reliable, and sensitive real-time quantitative PCR was developed and compared with conventional culture methods. Real-time quantitative PCR was carried out by purifying DNA extracts of S. aureus with a Staphylococcus sample preparation kit and quantifying it in the LightCycler system with hybridization probes. The assay was linear from a range of 10 to 106 S. aureus cells (r 2 > 0.997). The PCR reaction presented an efficiency of >85%. Accuracy of the PCR-based assay, expressed as percent bias, was around 13%, and the precision, expressed as a percentage of the coefficient of variation, was 7 to 10%. Intraday and interday variability were studied at 102 CFU/g and was 12 and 14%, respectively. The proposed method was applied to the analysis of 77 samples of restaurant meals in Valencia (Spain). In 11.6% of samples S. aureus was detected by real-time quantitative PCR, as well as by the conventional microbiological method. An excellent correspondence between real-time quantitative PCR and microbiological numbers (CFU/g) was observed with deviations of <28%.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Valencia, Faculty of Pharmacy, Laboratory of Bromatology and Toxicology, 46100 Burjassot, Valencia, Spain

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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