The public health risk posed by Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods depends on the effectiveness of its control at every stage of the production process and the strain involved. Analytical methods currently in use are limited to the identification/quantification of L. monocytogenes at the species level, without distinguishing virulent from hypovirulent strains. In these products, according to EU Regulation 2073/2005, L. monocytogenes is a mandatory criterion irrespective of strain virulence level. Indeed, this species encompasses a diversity of strains with various pathogenic potential, reflecting genetic heterogeneity of the species itself. Thus, the detection of specific L. monocytogenes virulence genes can be considered an important target in laboratory food analysis to assign different risk levels to foods contaminated by strains carrying different genes. In 2015–2016, a severe invasive listeriosis outbreak occurred in central Italy, leading to the intensification of routine surveillance and strain characterization for virulence genetic markers. A new multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction targeting main virulence genes has been developed and validated against the enzyme-linked fluorescent assay (ELFA) culture-based method. Results of the improved surveillance program are now reported in this study.

Detection and Virulence Characterization of Listeria monocytogenes Strains in Ready-to-Eat Products

Giulia Amagliani
;
Giuditta Fiorella Schiavano;Giorgio Brandi;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The public health risk posed by Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods depends on the effectiveness of its control at every stage of the production process and the strain involved. Analytical methods currently in use are limited to the identification/quantification of L. monocytogenes at the species level, without distinguishing virulent from hypovirulent strains. In these products, according to EU Regulation 2073/2005, L. monocytogenes is a mandatory criterion irrespective of strain virulence level. Indeed, this species encompasses a diversity of strains with various pathogenic potential, reflecting genetic heterogeneity of the species itself. Thus, the detection of specific L. monocytogenes virulence genes can be considered an important target in laboratory food analysis to assign different risk levels to foods contaminated by strains carrying different genes. In 2015–2016, a severe invasive listeriosis outbreak occurred in central Italy, leading to the intensification of routine surveillance and strain characterization for virulence genetic markers. A new multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction targeting main virulence genes has been developed and validated against the enzyme-linked fluorescent assay (ELFA) culture-based method. Results of the improved surveillance program are now reported in this study.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2692847
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