Adapting Molecular Food Safety Tests to Alternative Matrices
Principal Investigator: Laura Goodman
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):
Monitoring for pathogens causing enteric diseases such as salmonellosis is needed in a number of sectors including food and feed production, retail facilities, and veterinary hospitals. Several commercially available kits are available for this purpose, but are validated primarily for human food testing. A comprehensive monitoring plan for food production facilities should include the ability to test multiple types of samples, including tissues and feces from sick or dead animals and/or rodents and environmental swabs. Validation of rapid assays for additional sample types such as animal tissues, fecal samples, and environmental swabs is urgently needed as part of comprehensive surveillance efforts and outbreak management plans. There is a large demand for rapid screening for enteric bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella spp. in a number of sectors including food and feed production facilities. Several commercially available kits are available for this purpose, but are AOAC validated only for human food testing. Validation of rapid assays for additional matrices such as animal tissues, fecal samples, and environmental surface swabs is urgently needed. In order to accomplish this, we propose the following specific aims: 1) Validate commercially available molecular diagnostic assays for Salmonella spp., E. coli, and Listeria spp. for use in fecal samples, animal tissues, and environmental swabs; 2) Transfer these assays to an open array platform in order to facilitate testing efficiency and transferability to other laboratories. Extending validations of rapid food testing kits for additional animal-related matrices, which is feasible due to our expertise in veterinary diagnostics, will have direct relevance to public health by providing new methods for comprehensive enteric pathogen surveillance and outbreak management. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to facilitate the dissemination of high-throughput, cost-effective methods for screening of multiple sample types for a broad range of enteric pathogens.