Molecular Detection Makes Identification of Foodborne Pathogens Faster, Easier and More Reliable

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2214. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 9 August 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2214

A University of Guelph food science professor says modern molecular detection methods are making the identification of foodborne pathogens faster, easier and more reliable.

Currently, to identify organisms such as salmonella, e. coli and campylobacter, scientists use culture based methods where they grow the organism on media that supports a specific pathogen to determine whether or not it is present.

Dr. Mansel Griffiths, the director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety at the University of Guelph, says the use of molecular methods, which detect the genetic sequence that's unique to a particular organism, are gaining in popularity.

"Gradually they're replacing the conventional systems because they are more specific for the organisms that are likely to make us sick.

We can target certain types of organisms much easier than using culture techniques. They can be more sensitive than culture techniques. That is they can detect fewer numbers of cells.

They also have the advantage in that they are faster than culture based methods and, to a certain extent, they are easier to use.

As with a lot of techniques we're taking things that have been used in clinical microbiology for a long time and starting to apply those to the food industry.."

Dr. Griffiths says these modern molecular methods of detection are not only faster and easier to use, they also allow scientists to target specific types of organisms.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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