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Real-time PCR and enzyme-linked fluorescent assay methods for detecting Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli in mincemeat samples

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This work aimed to compare real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with the commercially available enzyme-linked fluorescent assay (ELFA) VIDAS ECOLI O157™ for detecting Escherichia coli O157 in mincemeat. In addition, a PCR-based survey on Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in mincemeat collected in Italy is presented. Real-time PCR assays targeting the stx genes and a specific STEC O157 sequence (SILO157, a small inserted locus of STEC O157) were tested for their sensitivity on spiked mincemeat samples. After overnight enrichment, the presence of STEC cells could be clearly determined in the 25 g samples containing 10 bacterial cells, while the addition of five bacteria provided equivocal PCR results with Ct values very close to or above the threshold of 40. The PCR tests proved to be more sensitive than the ELFA-VIDAS ECOLI O157™, whose detection level started from 50 bacterial cells/25 g of mincemeat. The occurrence of STEC in 106 mincemeat (bovine, veal) samples collected from September to November 2004 at five different points of sale in Italy (one point of sale in Arezzo, Tuscany, central Italy, two in Mantova, Lombardy, Northern Italy, and two in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, upper-central Italy) was less than 1%. Contamination by the main STEC O-serogroups representing a major public health concern, including O26, O91, O111, O145, and O157, was not detected. This survey indicates that STEC present in these samples are probably not associated with pathogenesis in humans.

Keywords: PCR en temps réel; STEC; VIDAS ECOLI O157™; real-time PCR

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-03-01

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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