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Fresh breakthroughs in pathogen detection

By Rod Addy , 25-Feb-2013

Recent breakthroughs in pathogen detection include a new rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method from Thermo Fisher Scientific and quicker and a more accurate way to pinpoint types of microbes.

The Thermo Scientific SureTect Real-Time PCR System is designed to quickly and accurately detect microorganisms in a broad range of foods and associated samples, the company said.

The innovation delivers greater convenience for users and cuts detection time by offering pre-filled assay tubes and a way of breaking down cells being tested in less than 20 minutes.

To accommodate laboratories of different sizes, the system enables up to five 24-well PikoReal testing instruments to be run from the same computer.

Straightforward interpretation

And the system also uses intuitive software to enable rapid, straightforward interpretation and traceability of results, said Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Meantime, scientists at the National Centre for Toxicological Research in the US and the University of Arkansas have developed a faster method for identifying different strains of Salmonella.

The multilocus sequence typing (MLST) approach combines PCR-based target enrichment with the latest sequencing technology to genotype foodborne pathogens.

According to a study in the journal Molecular and Cellular Probes (2013, vol. 27, pp 80-85, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mcp.2012.11.004 ), the method was tested in reference to Salmonella.

Efficient way to improve discrimination

A total of 21 target genes for genotyping Salmonella strains were simultaneously amplified and used to demonstrate that the method was an efficient way to improve discrimination among closely-related Salmonella strains.

The test provided an improvement in resolution and high-throughput capacity, the scientists, Pallavi Singh, Steven Foley, Rajesh Nayak and Young Min Kwon, reported.

“We used Salmonella as a model organism, but this method could readily be applied to other bacterial species,” they state.

Costs for the analysis would decrease over time, so it would become “more practical and economical for performing high-resolution strain typing in a high throughput manner in the near future”, they add.

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