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Use of Enrichment Real-Time PCR To Enumerate Salmonella on Chicken Parts

Thomas P. Oscar
Journal of food protection 2014 v.77 no.7 pp. 1086-1092
chicken skin, cooked foods, thighs, Salmonella Typhimurium, peptones, cooking, risk, bacterial contamination, cutting boards, chicken meat, wings, pathogens, serotypes, cross contamination, microbial detection, raw chicken meat, chickens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, food contamination, pathogen survival, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, breasts, knives, bacteria, Kentucky
Salmonella bacteria that survive cooking or that cross-contaminate other food during meal preparation and serving represent primary routes of consumer exposure to this pathogen from chicken. In the present study, enrichment real-time PCR (qPCR) was used to enumerate Salmonella bacteria that contaminate raw chicken parts at retail or that cross-contaminate cooked chicken during simulated meal preparation and serving. Whole raw chickens obtained at retail were partitioned into wings, breasts, thighs, and drumsticks using a sterilized knife and cutting board, which were then used to partition a cooked chicken breast to assess cross-contamination. After enrichment in buffered peptone water (400 ml, 8 h, 40°C, 80 rpm), subsamples were used for qPCR and cultural isolation of Salmonella. In some experiments, chicken parts were spiked with 0 to 3.6 log of Salmonella Typhimurium var. 5– to generate a standard curve for enumeration by qPCR. Of 10 raw chickens examined, 7 (70%) had one or more parts contaminated with Salmonella. Of 80 raw parts examined, 15 (19%) were contaminated with Salmonella. Of 20 cooked chicken parts examined, 2 (10%) were cross-contaminated with Salmonella. Predominant serotypes identified were Typhimurium (71%) and its variants (var. 5–, monophasic, and nonmotile) and Kentucky (18%). The number of Salmonella bacteria on contaminated parts ranged from one to two per part. Results of this study indicated that retail chicken parts examined were contaminated with low levels of Salmonella, which resulted in low levels of cross-contamination during simulated meal preparation and serving. Thus, if consumers properly handle and prepare the chicken, it should pose no or very low risk of consumer exposure to Salmonella.