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Detection and Isolation of the “Top Seven” Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli in Ground Beef: Comparison of RapidFinder Kits to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook Method

Fratamico, Pina M., Bagi, Lori K., Abdul-Wakeel, Aisha
Journal of food protection 2017 v.80 no.5 pp. 829-836
DNA, Escherichia coli O157, Food Safety and Inspection Service, adulterated products, agar, computer software, genes, ground beef, immunomagnetic separation, microbiology, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rapid methods, serotypes
Shiga toxin–producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157:H7 and serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 are often referred to as the “top seven” STEC, and these have been declared to be adulterants in beef by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The aim of this work was to compare the methods described in the USDA FSIS Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) to a two-stage Applied Biosystems RapidFinder STEC real-time PCR method to test for the top seven STEC in raw ground beef. The specificity of the RapidFinder workflow that targets non-O157 STEC O-antigen genes, stx1, stx2, and eae, and E. coli O157–specific targets was determined with 132 top seven STEC strains and 283 exclusion strains. All inclusion strains were positive, and all exclusion strains gave negative results with the RapidFinder assay. Strains carrying all of the known variants of stx1 and stx2, including stx2f and stx2g, were also detected. For RapidFinder analysis, 375-g ground beef samples spiked with ≥4 CFU of representative STEC strains were enriched in 1 L of tryptic soy broth (TSB) for 10 h at 42 ± 1°C, and for the MLG method, 325-g samples were similarly spiked and enriched in 975 mL of modified TSB for 15 h at 42 ± 1°C. Following DNA extraction, real-time PCR was performed using RapidFinder Express software, and for the MLG method, the BAX Real-Time PCR STEC Suite and the BAX Real-Time E. coli O157:H7 assay were used with the BAX System Q7 software. Following immunomagnetic separation, presumptive colonies from modified Rainbow agar O157 plates were confirmed by the real-time PCR assays. Results of the RapidFinder and BAX assays were similar; all samples were positive after 10 and 15 h of enrichment, respectively. Isolation and confirmation of isolates was possible on all samples, except that two O111:NM strains could not be isolated from a portion of the inoculated samples. Thus, the RapidFinder system can be used for routine and rapid detection of the top seven STEC in beef.