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Development of a multiplex real‐time PCR for simultaneous detection of Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus in food samples

Wei, Shuai, Daliri, Eric Banan‐Mwine, Chelliah, Ramachandran, Park, Byung‐Jae, Lim, Ji‐Su, Baek, Myo‐Ah, Nam, Yong‐Suk, Seo, Kun‐Ho, Jin, Yong‐Guo, Oh, Deog‐Hwan
Journal of food safety 2019 v.39 no.1 pp. e12558
Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, bacteria, cherry tomatoes, chi-square distribution, food matrix, food pathogens, food safety, foods, genes, milk, public health, quantitative polymerase chain reaction
Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus caused problems in public health and food safety. A multiplex real‐time PCR (qPCR) for simultaneous detection of these three pathogens in different kinds of food was developed. A high specificity (100%) was obtained using 21 target strains and 19 nontarget strains. Standard curves for pure cultures covered seven orders of magnitude (from 10⁸ to 10² cfu/ml) with high amplification efficiencies ranging from 94.2 to 105.4% with R‐squares over 0.999. When multiplex qPCR was applied for artificially contaminated cherry tomato, milk, and spam samples, a detection limit of 10³ cfu/g or ml was obtained for these three bacteria. When low levels (0.4–5.5 cfu/25 g or ml) of bacteria were inoculated in three kinds of food samples and cultured in tryptic soy broth for 24 hr, results obtained from multiplex real‐time and conventional culture methods were not significantly different for all three food matrices based on Mantel–Haenszel chi‐square test. Only for B. cereus in milk, positive portions detected by qPCR were significantly higher than those detected by culture method. Hence, the multiplex qPCR developed in this study is highly specific and effective for simultaneous detection B. cereus, L. monocytogenes, and S. aureus in food samples. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Bacillus cereus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus are three major foodborne pathogens and have been found in a wide range of foods. We developed a multiplex qPCR specific targeting groEL, iap, and nuc genes with a high amplification efficiency. Different food samples (cherry tomato, milk, and spam) were tested for evaluating the performance of the multiplex qPCR. The detection results by qPCR were compared with the conventional culture methods and no significant differences were found using Mantel–Haenszel chi‐square test. This study provides the information of the developed multiplex qPCR for detecting three specific foodborne pathogens and applications in food samples, which will be helpful for further studies about simultaneous detection of several targets in food samples using multiplex PCR.