A team of scientists led by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers has found a faster and more precise way to detect Salmonella in beef and chicken, a finding that could help prevent major illnesses.
In a newly published study, researchers artificially contaminated food with Salmonella. They then tested the food samples using Salmonella-specific antibodies combined with a unique signal amplification technique. Their test found Salmonella present after 15 hours and removed other microorganisms that sometimes clutter laboratory results. This is shorter than the two to three days it generally takes to detect Salmonella in a culture, the study shows.
“The test has great potential as a simple monitoring system for foodborne pathogens in food samples, which can improve food safety and public health,” said Soohyoun Ahn, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and lead author of the study. “Even with all the strategies used to minimize contamination of beef and poultry, they are still one of the major food vehicles for Salmonella.”
The test would be suitable for any government research laboratory or industry that routinely tests for Salmonella, Ahn said.
Ahn sees the Salmonella test as showing similar potential for faster detection of other foodborne pathogens. A similar test has been developed for E. coli in milk and ground beef, and it performed well, she said.
The study is published in the Journal of Food Safety, http://bit.ly/2c6EHa4.