Scientists at LGC uncover new campylobacter test

LGC, the National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurement in the UK, has uncovered a novel molecular DNA diagnostic technique to identify specific species of Campylobacter, a bacterium related to foodborne illnesses.

LGC’s molecular DNA technique has the potential to identify different Campylobacter species, based on unique DNA profiles.

The technique could differentiate efficiently between species, and contribute to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) initiative to manage the prevalence of Campylobacter in UK food sources.

LGC scientists have also differentiated successfully two of the most common Campylobacter species; C.coli and C.jejuni by their DNA profiles.

The FSA’s strategic plan for 2010-2015 sets one of its main priorities as ensuring “food produced or sold in the UK is safe to eat” and cites the reduction of foodborne disease, specifically in tackling the incidences of Campylobacter in chicken as one of its main objectives.

Foodborne illness can be caused by the consumption of food contaminated with bacteria and their toxins. Of the five major foodborne bacteria – Salmonella, Campylobacter, E.coli 0157, Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium perfringens – Campylobacter is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the UK.

In 2008, there were 49,880 cases of Campylobacter infection in England and Wales, compared with 9,867 of Salmonella. Virtually all cases of Campylobacter infection occur as isolated events, not as a part of large outbreaks.

The traditional method of identifying bacterial pathogens associated with foodborne illnesses is examination via pour plate technology with biochemical reactions and identification and enumeration by microscopy.

>> Poultry leaders unite with retail to tackle bug

>> Study finds campylobacter in 65% of fresh chicken

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