By including digoxigenin-11-dUTP in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR), amplification products were produced that contained nonisotopic markers for use as DNA hybridization probes. Because these labeled amplicons encode pathogenic traits for specific foodborne bacteria, they can be used to detect the presence of potentially virulent organisms that may be present in foods. This technology allows the synthesis of a variety of shelf-stable probe reagents for detecting a number of foodborne microbes of public health concern. We used this technology to detect four genes in two potential pathogens: virF and yadA in enteropathogenic Yersinia and stx1 and stx2 in Shiga-like toxin-producing Escherichia coli. Results of DNA hybridizations of dot blots of 68 Yersinia strains and 24 of 25 E. coli strains were consistent with results of equivalent PCR analyses. DNA colony hybridization with nonisotopic virF probes of colonies arising on spread plates from artificially contaminated food homogenates was able to detect potentially pathogenic Y. enterocolitica. When compared with oligonucleotide probes, amplicon probes are much less sensitive to changes in hybridization and wash temperatures, allowing greater reproducibility. Labeled probe preparations were reused more than five times and have been stored at -20°C for more than 8 months. This method conveniently generates probes that are safe, stable, inexpensive, reusable, and reliable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science