In vitro amplification of nucleic acids using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has become, since its discovery in the 1980s, a powerful diagnostic tool for the analysis of microbial infections as well as for the analysis of microorganisms in food samples. However, despite its potential, PCR has neither gained wide acceptance in routine diagnostics nor been widely incorporated in standardized methods. Lack of validation and standard protocols, as well as variable quality of reagents and equipment, influence the efficient dissemination of PCR methodology from expert research laboratories to end-user laboratories. Moreover, the food industry understandably requires and expects officially approved standards. Recognizing this, in 1999, the European Commission approved the research project, FOOD-PCR (http://www.PCR.dk), which aims to validate and standardize the use of diagnostic PCR for the detection of pathogenic bacteria in foods. The present review focuses on the harmonization procedure and standardization criteria for detection of foodborne pathogens by PCR. The progress of standardization so far and future perspectives of diagnostic PCR are discussed.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Industrial Biotechnology
- Harmonization and standardization
- Foodborne pathogens