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J Food Prot 2013 Feb;76(2):314-7

Evaluation of PCR detection of Salmonella in alfalfa sprouts and spent irrigation water collected during sprouting of naturally contaminated seed.

Maks N, Fu TJ


This study evaluated the efficacy of a PCR-based system (DuPont Qualicon BAX) for detection of Salmonella in sprouts and spent irrigation water collected during sprouting of seeds naturally contaminated with Salmonella. Alfalfa seeds were grown in Mason jars at 20 and 30 degrees C for 3 days. Levels of Salmonella present in the water and sprouts were determined by most-probable-number (MPN) analysis. Background microflora levels were also determined. Samples of spent irrigation water and sprouts were enriched overnight individually in tetrathionate broth and in buffered peptone water with novobiocin at 42 degrees C and then run in the BAX system. Samples were also enriched according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Bacteriological Analytical Manual (FDA BAM) method for Salmonella as a comparison. Salmonella levels were lower at 20 degrees C compared with 30 degrees C for some trials, and background microflora levels ranged from 10(7) to 10(8) CFU/g or ml at 20 degrees C and 10(8) to 10(9) CFU/g or ml at 30 degrees C. In trials with a Salmonella level >1.1 MPN/g or ml, both the BAX and FDA BAM methods were able to detect Salmonella in all samples. In trials with lower levels (0.21 MPN/g or ml or lower) of Salmonella, BAX was able to detect more positive samples than FDA BAM. For one trial with <0.003 MPN/g or ml of Salmonella, the presence of the pathogen was not indicated by either the BAX or the FDA BAM method. The results suggest that PCR detected low levels of Salmonella in sprouts or spent irrigation water collected from sprouting of naturally contaminated seeds.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23433380 DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-155
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Food
Entry Created: 2013-11-18