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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 May;76(9):2815-22. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02714-09. Epub 2010 Mar 12.

Accuracy and sensitivity of commercial PCR-based methods for detection of Salmonella enterica in feed.

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National Veterinary Institute, Statens Veterinärmedicinska Anstalt, Uppsala, Sweden.


The present study compared the performance of commercial PCR-based Salmonella enterica detection methods (BAX System Q7, the iQ-Check Salmonella II kit, and the TaqMan Salmonella enterica detection kit) with culture-based methods (modified semisolid Rappaport-Vassiliadis [MSRV] and NMKL71) in spiked and naturally contaminated samples of feed mill scrapings (FMS), palm kernel meal (PKM), pelleted feed (PF), rape seed meal (RSM), soybean meal (SM), and wheat grain (WG). When results from the various feeds were compared, the number of Salmonella enterica CFU/25 g required to produce a positive were as follows: PKM > FMS = WG > RSM = SM = PF. These data are similar to those developed in earlier studies with culture-based Salmonella detection methods. PCR-based methods were performed similarly to culture-based methods, with respect to sensitivity and specificity. However, many PCR positives could not be confirmed by Salmonella isolation and for that reason the evaluated methods were found to be suitable only when rapid results were paramount. Nevertheless, PCR-based methods cannot presently replace culture-based methods when typing information is required for tracing studies or epidemiological investigations. The observed difference in detection levels is a potential problem when prevalence data are compared as well as when feed ingredients are tested for conformance with microbiological criteria. This paper also presents a statistical model that describes the detection probability when different levels (CFU) of Salmonella contamination are present in feed materials.

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