A paper by biomedical scientists Peter Agron and Gary Andersen about their development of a DNA-based detection system will appear in Thursdays edition of the journal "Applied & Environmental Microbiology."
The scientists technique is expected to cut the time for the detection of salmonella from days, or even as long as two weeks in some cases, to possibly as little as two hours.
While people who eat raw eggs in Caesar salads or egg nog are at increased risk for contracting salmonella food poisoning, that risk may become much less in the near future because of this technology.
Co-authors on the paper are Jessica Wollard of Livermore, along with Richard Walker, Sherilyn Sawyer and Dawn Hayes of the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory in Davis, and Hailu Kinde of the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory in San Bernardino.
In a year-long effort, Agron and Andersen identified several potential unique strands of DNA in a strain of salmonella known as salmonella enteritidis. Those pieces of DNA were then compared with the genomes from other strains of salmonella closely related to salmonella enteritidis to ensure they were unique to the enteritidis strain.
The most common pathogen of eggs, salmonella enteritidis is estimated to be present in only about one in 10,000 or more eggs. This bacteria only becomes a problem, causing food poisoning for humans, when disease-carrying eggs have not been thoroughly cooked or are left unrefrigerated.
"It is difficult to distinguish this pathogenic salmonella from all of the other salmonella strains that do not cause disease and are not a problem," Andersen said, adding that neither the chickens or eggs with this bacteria show any symptoms of th
Contact: Stephen Wampler
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory