Assessing organism viability and interpreting genomic unit versus colony forming unit data for water and food borne microorganisms, such as Legionella, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria

Samuel Collins*, Frieda Jorgensen, Caroline Willis, Jimmy Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

New molecular-based methods for the detection of pathogens in food and water have a number of benefits over traditional culture-based assays, including ability to detect and enumerate pathogens rapidly, in real-time, the ability to negatively screen samples without the need for culture, the power to link detection with specific strain identification and confirmation, and the opportunity to detect only viable cells. However, with the introduction of such techniques, it is important to have an understanding of what exactly they are detecting, their limitations, and how the data from such assays can be interpreted. This chapter provides an outline and understanding of molecular methods used to evaluate the microbiological quality of water and food, with particular emphasis on real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), including quantitative real-time PCR. Issues addressed will include determining whether the microorganisms detected are viable, and the importance of correct interpretation of PCR-based results. The chapter will also discuss the steps that need to be taken by the food and water testing industry to ensure robust and meaningful assays are developed and utilized correctly, in order to provide accurate and reliably interpreted results in a timely manner to stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMolecular Microbial Diagnostic Methods
Subtitle of host publicationPathways to Implementation for the Food and Water Industries
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages155-184
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780124171701
ISBN (Print)9780124169999
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Genomic units
  • Interpretation
  • Pathogens
  • PCR
  • Strain identification
  • Validation
  • Viable but nonculturable

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