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Real-Time PCR Detection of 16S rRNA Genes Speeds Most-Probable-Number Enumeration of Foodborne Listeria monocytogenes

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Abstract:

Quantifying foodborne pathogens at concentrations of 0.1 to 1,000 CFU/g of food generally involves most-probable-number (MPN) enumeration, which takes at least 4 days. A real-time PCR assay (RTi-PCR) was developed to accelerate MPN enumeration of foodborne Listeria monocytogenes. Foods were spiked from 70 to 110 CFU/g, and triplicate subportions from 0.0001 to 1 g were selectively enriched for 48 h at 30°C. For standard MPN enumeration, the enrichments were subcultured on Oxford agar (48 h at 35°C) to isolate Listeria. For RTi-PCR MPN, the L. monocytogenes cells from the same enrichments were washed and resuspended in 2 ml of sterile water. DNA was extracted by boiling for 10 min. The DNA in the extract's supernatant was targeted with published oligonucleotide primers for amplifying an Lmo-specific sequence of 16S rRNA genes. Amplification was continuously monitored with SYBR Green. The resulting amplicon was characterized by its melting temperature. The L. monocytogenes specificity of the primers was confirmed by testing L. monocytogenes (15 strains), Listeria innocua (11 strains), and Listeria welshimeri, Listeria seeligeri, Listeria ivanovii, and Listeria grayi (1 strain each). Quantitatively spiked milk, lettuce, smoked salmon, Brie cheese, ice cream, pork paâté, salami, ready-to-eat shrimp, raw ground beef, and fresh soft cheese were enumerated by both the standard and the PCR MPN method. The paired results from the two MPN methods agreed well, except for the fresh cheese. For some foods, 1-g samples required a decimal dilution for a positive test result, suggesting concentration-dependent food ingredient interference with the RTi-PCR. This RTi-PCR method reduced the time necessary for the MPN enumeration of foodborne L. monocytogenes from 4 to 2 days.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. do Café s/n, Monte Alegre, 14040-903 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil 2: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740-3835, USA

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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