Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2004
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Fratamico, P.M., Bayles, D.O. 2005. Molecular approaches for detection, identification, and analysis of food-borne pathogens. Book Chapter. Foodborne Pathogens: Microbiology and Molecular Biology. Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, Virginia. pg. 1-13. Technical Abstract: Traditional microbiological methods for testing foods for the presence of pathogens rely on growth in culture media, followed by isolation, and biochemical and serological identification. Traditional methods are laborious and time consuming, requiring a few days to a week or longer to complete. Rapid detection of pathogens in food is essential for ensuring the safety of food for consumers, and in the past 25 years, advances in biotechnology have resulted in the development of rapid methods that reduce the analysis time. Two major categories of rapid methods include immunologic or antibody-based assays and genetic-based assays such as the polymerase chain reaction. Next generation assays under development include biosensors and DNA chips that potentially have the capability for near real-time and on-line monitoring for multiple pathogens in foods. In addition to the identification and classification of microorganisms associated with foods or the food chain, global analysis methods are becoming increasingly available for analyzing these microorganisms and their environments in ways that will lead to a more complete understanding of how these organisms respond to their environments. The use of global analyses offers the opportunity to identify cellular genes, proteins, metabolites, and their interconnected networks without the need for a complete understanding of the organism prior to testing. These types of analyses have the potential to improve public health by providing the information needed to determine what causes particular organisms to become pathogenic and what causes organisms to persist in environments related to foods. This information will also allow more specific detection tests to be developed, will provide the information needed to enhance current interventions, and may possibly lead to the design and validation of new interventions.