Quick detection of salmonella

04-02-2009 | |

Iowa State University researchers have developed a technique for testing for the presence of salmonella.

The process, developed by Byron Brehm-Stecher, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition, and his graduate student Bledar Bisha, begins with testing the food, with a strip of adhesive tape. The tape is then carefully removed, taking a sample of whatever is on the “skin” of the produce.

That sample is then put on a slide and soaked in a special warm, soapy mixture that contains a genetic marker that binds with salmonella and gives off a fluorescent glow when viewed under an ultraviolet light. Use of this genetic marker approach is called Fluorescent In-Situ Hybridization, or FISH.

The approach can tell investigators if the produce is contaminated with salmonella in about two hours.

“This method is rapid, it’s easy, and it’s cheap,” said Brehm-Stecher, noting that it could be an important technique for salmonella investigators.

“This method may also find use in poultry production environments, either on the farm or at the processing plant. With the use of different organism-specific probes, the method could also be adapted to detection of different pathogens – it would be very interesting to evaluate its use for detection of Campylobacter, for example,” Brehm-Stecher told World Poultry.

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist