Easy-to-Use Rapid Test for Direct Detection of Campylobacter spp. in Chicken Feces

Authors: Wadl, M.1; Pölzler, T.2; Flekna, G.3; Thompson, L.4; Slaghuis, J.5; Köfer, J.3; Hein, I.3; Wagner, M.3

Source: Journal of Food Protection®, Number 12, December 2009, pp. 2448-2681 , pp. 2483-2488(6)

Publisher: International Association for Food Protection

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Human campylobacteriosis is the leading cause of acute bacterial gastroenteritis in developed countries. One important source of infection is poultry. Results from the Dutch Campylobacter Risk Management and Assessment project indicate that meat from broiler flocks shedding ≥7 log CFU Campylobacter per g of feces poses the greatest risk of transmitting campylobacteriosis. The objective of this study was to develop a simple and rapid test that would identify chicken flocks shedding high numbers of Campylobacter. We used lateral flow technology as the alternative test method, and selected the culture method according to International Organization for Standardization guidelines. To evaluate the test under field conditions, we sampled either chicken droppings at farms or cecal contents at the slaughterhouse. PCR was used to confirm presumptive Campylobacter spp. colonies. Under laboratory conditions, chicken feces containing ≥6.7 log CFU/g Campylobacter jejuni or ≥7.1 log CFU/g Campylobacter coli were identified by the lateral flow test. Overall, 3 (33%) of 10, and 29 (85%) of 34 C. jejuni– or C. coli–positive chicken flocks were identified at farms and slaughterhouses, respectively, by using the lateral flow test. Fecal samples containing ≥7.3 log of C. jejuni or C. coli CFU/g as determined by plating were always positive when using the lateral flow test. A single person testing seven flocks at a time could obtain test results within 2 h of sampling. This simple and rapid lateral flow test may contribute significantly to the identification of chicken flocks shedding high numbers of Campylobacter.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, Spargelfeldstrasse 191, 1220 Vienna, Austria; Department for Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria. maria_wadl@hotmail.com 2: Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, Spargelfeldstrasse 191, 1220 Vienna, Austria 3: Department for Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria 4: Merck Specialty Chemicals, Limited, University Parkway, Chilworth Science. Park, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7QD, UK 5: Merck KGaA, Laboratory Immunological Rapid Tests, Frankfurter Strasse, 250 64293 Darmstadt, Germany

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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