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Front Pediatr. 2015 May 5;3:38. doi: 10.3389/fped.2015.00038. eCollection 2015.

Strategies for the identification and tracking of cronobacter species: an opportunistic pathogen of concern to neonatal health.

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1
UCD-Centre for Food Safety, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research, Reference and Training on Cronobacter, School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, University College Dublin , Dublin , Ireland.

Abstract

Cronobacter species are emerging opportunistic food-borne pathogens, which consists of seven species, including C. sakazakii, C. malonaticus, C. muytjensii, C. turicensis, C. dublinensis, C. universalis, and C. condimenti. The organism can cause severe clinical infections, including necrotizing enterocolitis, septicemia, and meningitis, predominately among neonates <4 weeks of age. Cronobacter species can be isolated from various foods and their surrounding environments; however, powdered infant formula (PIF) is the most frequently implicated food source linked with Cronobacter infection. This review aims to provide a summary of laboratory-based strategies that can be used to identify and trace Cronobacter species. The identification of Cronobacter species using conventional culture method and immuno-based detection protocols were first presented. The molecular detection and identification at genus-, and species-level along with molecular-based serogroup approaches are also described, followed by the molecular sub-typing methods, in particular pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multi-locus sequence typing. Next generation sequence approaches, including whole genome sequencing, DNA microarray, and high-throughput whole-transcriptome sequencing, are also highlighted. Appropriate application of these strategies would contribute to reduce the risk of Cronobacter contamination in PIF and production environments, thereby improving food safety and protecting public health.

KEYWORDS:

Cronobacter species; DNA microarray; high-throughput whole-transcriptome sequencing; molecular identification; whole genome sequencing

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