New Salmonella Detection System Developed

AMES, Iowa, May 10 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they are developing a process that can obtain fast DNA-based information during outbreaks of salmonella infections.

Iowa State University Assistant Professor Byron Brehm-Stecher, graduate student Brittany Porter and colleagues said they are using technology available through a collaborator — Advanced Analytical Technologies Inc. — to replace the current system of salmonella detection with an approach that can provide DNA sequencing-like results in hours rather than days.

The scientists said current definitive genetic identification of food-borne pathogens is done using DNA sequencing methods developed during the 1980s.

“If you want sequence information now, you first need to run a polymerase chain reaction on total DNA extracted from a sample of contaminated food,” Brehm-Stecher said. “This amplifies DNA from the pathogen you’re looking for and will let you know if salmonella is present.

“To dig deeper, you need to run a cycle sequencing reaction … and send the output from this to a DNA sequencing core facility. Results are available about two days later.”

He said faster detection of specific strains can mean recognizing an outbreak sooner and stopping tainted food from being consumed. And a newer faster method of detection might also be helpful for investigative agencies.

The research is to be presented in Anaheim, Calif., in August during a meeting of the International Association for Food Protection.

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