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Curr Microbiol. 2010 Dec;61(6):525-33. doi: 10.1007/s00284-010-9648-8. Epub 2010 Apr 16.

PCR detection of thermophilic spore-forming bacteria involved in canned food spoilage.

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CTCPA Centre Technique de la Conservation des Produits Agricoles, Site Agroparc, ZA de l'aéroport, BP 21 203, 84911, AVIGNON cedex 9, France.


Thermophilic bacteria that form highly heat-resistant spores constitute an important group of spoilage bacteria of low-acid canned food. A PCR assay was developed in order to rapidly trace these bacteria. Three PCR primer pairs were designed from rRNA gene sequences. These primers were evaluated for the specificity and the sensitivity of detection. Two primer pairs allowed detection at the species level of Geobacillus stearothermophilus and Moorella thermoacetica/thermoautrophica. The other pair allowed group-specific detection of anaerobic thermophilic bacteria of the genera Thermoanaerobacterium, Thermoanaerobacter, Caldanerobium and Caldanaerobacter. After a single enrichment step, these PCR assays allowed the detection of 28 thermophiles from 34 cans of spoiled low-acid food. In addition, 13 ingredients were screened for the presence of these bacteria. This PCR assay serves as a detection method for strains able to spoil low-acid canned food treated at 55°C. It will lead to better reactivity in the canning industry. Raw materials and ingredients might be qualified not only for quantitative spore contamination, but also for qualitative contamination by highly heat-resistant spores.

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