Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Salmonella Test

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Salmonella Test

Article excerpt

A 2010 outbreak of salmonella, caused by infected eggs, resulted in thousands of illnesses before a costly recall could be implemented. Now, University of Missouri researchers have created a new test for salmonella in poultry and eggs that will produce faster and more accurate results than most currently available tests. The new test could have prevented the contaminated eggs from being shipped to stores.

"Processors and consumers will benefit from the speed and sensitivity of the new test's results," says Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. "This will keep companies from shipping contaminated products, and thus, keep salmonella-infected products out of consumers' hands."

Salmonella is the most common cause of food poisoning in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonellosis--the disease caused by salmonella--causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and sometimes death.

Mustapha says salmonella testing in poultry is important because it persists in birds' spleens and reproductive tracts. An infected bird passes the infection on to all of its eggs.

The most commonly used testing method for salmonella can take up to five days to produce results. Mustapha's research allows scientists to use a process, known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to cut testing time to 5--12 hours. …

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