Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) - Articles and news items

Study shows ddPCR can speed development of food crops

Industry news  •  27 January 2016  •  Victoria White

In a new study, researchers compared methods of transgenic plant development and identified ddPCR is much faster than the standard approach, yet equally reliable…

Whitepaper: Quantitative PCR analysis of meat speciation data using the 2-∆∆ Cq method

Whitepapers  •  22 June 2015  •  Primerdesign

Find out more about Primerdesign’s complete speciation solution, using the most up-to-date methods, as part of the genesig® range of products for accurate and accessible speciation testing…

New microscope technique could speed up identification of deadly bacteria

Industry news  •  8 June 2015  •  Victoria White

A new way of rapidly identifying bacteria, which requires a slight modification to a microscope, may help the food industry screen against contamination…

Advancing analytical microbiology in the dairy industry

Issue 3 2014  •  23 June 2014  •  Mickaël Boyer and Jing Geng, Danone Nutricia Research

Today’s consumers have greater expectations than ever before regarding food. They expect not only safe, good quality and value-based products but also a real commitment of the food company toward social responsibility to the community, e.g. regarding nutritional education, sustainable development and adaptation to local geographical specifications. Those expectations are symbolised by a consumer needs pyramid: the basic requirement being consumer safety, the over consideration being product conformity to bring consumer satisfaction and, at the top, product superiority that brings consumer loyalty…

Survey of undeclared allergenic peanuts in commercial foods by Taqman real time PCR

Issue 5 2013  •  4 November 2013  •  Inés María López-Calleja Diaz, Silvia de la Cruz, Nicolette Pegels, Isabel González, Teresa García, and Rosario Martín, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Food Technology, Complutense University of Madrid

Food allergies are a serious public health problem. Around one to two per cent of the population suffer from some type of food allergy and even higher prevalence levels (up to eight per cent) are estimated for children. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) allergy is one of the most severe food allergies due to its persistence throughout the lifetime of individuals and its life-threatening character, even after the ingestion of minimal doses. Peanuts are widely used in different preparations like snacks and biscuits, and in the confectionary industry, both in their own right and as a cheap bulking agent for other products. Thus, avoidance of peanut-containing foods can be difficult for peanut allergen sufferers and food producers.

Appropriate controls for PCR detection of foodborne pathogens

Issue 2 2012  •  30 April 2012  •  Martin D’Agostino, Microbiologist, The Food and Environment Research Agency

Over the years, there has been a great increase in the number of PCR based assays for foodborne pathogen detection. For example, a very basic search for ‘salmonella food PCR assay’ using the PubMed.gov database will produce over 600 results. Clearly, this has led to a huge choice of PCR-based detection methods for analysts. This is especially so for analytical laboratories who choose to use non-proprietorial PCR-based methods, as opposed to commercially available complete PCR detection systems.

Since PCR-based assays are based on nucleic acid amplification, they are highly efficient, but they can also be negatively affected by the presence of food matrix-derived substances which can interfere or prevent the reaction from performing correctly. This is the case whether using a commercially available system, or a freely available non-proprietorial published method. Therefore, the use of appropriate and careful sample treatment must be applied or used to remove these inhibitory substances as much as is possible.

It must be noted however, that no sample treatment can be relied on completely, thus a suite of controls should be employed to verify that both the sample treatment and the PCR-based assay has performed correctly.

Same-day PCR testing of Salmonellain meat: From research to routine application at slaughterhouses

Issue 3 2011  •  7 July 2011  •  J. Hoorfar, C. Löfström & M.H. Josefsen, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark and F. Hansen & S. Mansdal, Danish Meat Research Institute and J. Andersen, Danish Crown A/S and G. Pedersen, TiCan amba

Due to the very short shelf-life of fresh (especially ground) meat, slaughterhouses benefit from faster screening tests to dispatch Salmonella-free meat as soon as possible after slaughter. An increasing number of European countries require that the meat is tested as free for Salmonella before it is imported. This is currently the case for Sweden and Finland, which have a special agreement with the European Commission for import of fresh meat.

This was the background for collaboration between Danish scientists and the two major Danish slaughterhouses. The research project aimed at reducing the time of testing from 24 – 28 hours (when the project started in 2006) to obtaining results within the same day as the samples are collected. Slaughterhouses have a two shift working day of 16 hours, which makes it feasible to design a faster test, while control laboratories usually have an eight hour working day.

PCR technologies for the detection of pathogens in the food industry

Issue 1 2011  •  3 March 2011  •  Geraldine Duffy, Head of Food Safety Department, Teagasc Food Research Centre

Food safety is critically important to the public health of the consumer and the economic sustainability of the agri-food sector. The consumer wants assurance that food is safe and for the food industry the economic implications and loss of goodwill associated with a food poisoning incident or scare has increased the necessity to provide assurance on food safety.

To provide assurance of safety, foods are tested to ensure they conform to micro – biological criteria for particular microbial pathogens and / or hygiene indicator organisms. There are many challenges in the detection of food pathogens; in particular, they are generally present in very low numbers in the food (often < 100 cfu g-1) in the presence of up to one million other microbial flora.

BIOTECON Diagnostics receives two new AOAC certificates

Industry news, News  •  21 February 2011  •  BIOTECON Diagnostics

AOAC-RI validation received for both its foodproof® Listeria monocytogenes and foodproof® E. coli O157 Detection Kits, 5’Nuclease…

New applications of PCR in food control

Issue 3 2010, Past issues  •  30 June 2010  •  Jeffrey Hoorfar Research Manager & Professor of Food Microbiology, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark

PCR testing of pathogens has gained widespread use in quality control laboratories throughout the food industry. Many excellent easy-to-use commercial kits are now available for a wide range of microorganisms. But are there any other potential uses for PCR other than a simple plus/minus response that indicates presence or absence of a pathogen harmful to consumers? And why is it important for the food industry to make more use out of PCR testing?

PCR as a molecular method in the food industry

Issue 1 2010, Past issues  •  22 February 2010  •  Luca Cocolin, Paola Dolci & Kalliopi Rantsiou, DIVAPRA, Agricultural Microbiology and Food Technology Sector, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Turin

The presence of pathogens is a serious problem that industries producing foodstuffs have to face on a daily base. Foodborne pathogens can survive during processing or they can come in contact with the product due to recontamination or cross-contamination. Food products that contain pathogens represent a risk for human health since consumption of a contaminated product may lead to disease for the consumer. Consequently, there is a strong need for food industries to have methods for detection that are rapid, sensitive, specific and reliable.

Detecting bacterial spores in soup manufacturing

Issue 3 2009  •  10 September 2009  •  A.C.M van Zuijlen & S.J.C.M Oomes, Unilever R&D; P. Vos, Check-Points B.V. and S. Brul, University of Amsterdam

Spores from mesophilic aerobic sporeforming bacteria (Bacillus) are sometimes able to survive the thermal process of commercial sterile products and sporadically cause spoilage or food poisoning. Because of an increasing demand for more fresh products, ideally the processing temperatures should be tailored to inactivate the actual spore load rather than applying worst case scenarios. In doing that, unnecessary loss of product quality can be prevented without running the risk that the product will spoil or cause safety issues.

Use of molecular techniques in the food industry

Issue 2 2009  •  1 June 2009  •  Mieke Uyttendaele and Andreja Rajkovic, Laboratory of Food Microbiology and Food Preservation, Ghent University

Microbial analysis in foods is an integrated part of management of microbial safety in the food chain. Both competent authorities and individual food business operators use microbial analysis for monitoring of the actual situation and trend analysis in order to detect emerging risks. For compliance testing to defined microbiological criteria or assessment of the performance of management strategies based upon HACCP, microbial analysis is also a valuable tool. Molecular techniques, especially the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), are one of the most important rapid methods for the sensitive and specific detection of pathogenic micro-organisms.


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