Comparison of conventional culture method and fluorescent in situ hybridization technique for detection of Listeria spp. in ground beef, turkey, and chicken breast fillets in Izmir, Turkey
The occurrence of Listeria species in refrigerated fresh chicken breast fillet, turkey breast fillet, and ground beef was evaluated, comparing the conventional culture method and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). FISH uses hybridization of a nucleic acid sequence target of a microorganism with a specific DNA probe labeled with a fluorochrome and imaging by a fluorescence microscope. First, Listeria was inoculated in chicken breast fillet, turkey breast fillet, or ground beef, and the applicability of the FISH method was evaluated. Second, Listeria was detected in fresh chicken breast fillet, turkey breast fillet, and ground beef by culture and FISH methods. Listeria was isolated from 27 (37.4%) of 216 samples by the standard culture method, whereas FISH detected 25 (24.7%) preenriched samples. Of these isolates, 17 (63%) were L. innocua, 6 (22%) L. welshimeri, and 4 (14.8%) L. seeligeri. Overall, the prevalences of Listeria spp. found with the conventional culture method in chicken breast fillet, turkey breast fillet, and ground beef were 9.7, 6.9, and 20.8%, whereas with the FISH technique these values were 11.1, 6.9, and 16.7%, respectively. The molecular FISH technique appears to be a cheap, sensitive, and time-efficient procedure that could be used for routine detection of Listeria spp. in meat. This study showed that retail raw meats are potentially contaminated with Listeria spp. and are, thus, vehicles for transmitting diseases caused by foodborne pathogens, underlining the need for increased precautions, such as implementation of hazard analysis and critical control points and consumer food safety education.