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      Rapid detection of Listeria monocytogenes in foods, by a combination of PCR and DNA probe.

      Molecular and cellular probes
      Aged, DNA Probes, Food Microbiology, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Listeria monocytogenes, genetics, isolation & purification, Molecular Probe Techniques, Polymerase Chain Reaction, methods, Time Factors

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          Listeria monocytogenes is a frequent contaminant of water and foods. Its rapid detection is needed before some foods can be prepared for marketing. In this work L. monocytogenes has been searched for in foods, by a combination of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a DNA probe. Both PCR and the probe were prepared for recognizing a specific region of the internalin gene, which is responsible for the production of one of the most important pathogenic factors of Listeria. The combined use of PCR and the DNA probe was used for the detection of L. monocytogenes in over 180 environmental and food samples. Several detection methods were compared in this study, namely conventional culture methods; direct PCR; PCR after an enrichment step; a DNA probe alone; a DNA probe after enrichment and another commercially available gene-probe. Finally PCR and the DNA probe were used in series on all the samples collected. When the DNA probe was associated with the PCR, specific and accurate detection of listeria in the samples could be obtained in about a working-day. The present molecular method showed some advantages in terms of rapidity and specificity in comparison to the other aforementioned tests. In addition, it resulted as being easy to handle, even for non-specialized personnel in small diagnostic microbiology laboratories. Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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