Advances in DNA Microarray Technology for the Detection of Foodborne Pathogens
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Hundreds of foodborne infection cases occur around the world, and up to one third of the population in industrialized nations suffers from foodborne illness each year. The advent of genetic-based technologies made feasible developing sensitive and specific screening tests for the detection of microbial pathogens. Microarray-based technologies represent an advance in nucleic acid testing methods whose main features include miniaturization, ability to parallelize sample processing, and ease of automation. Many applications, based on both commercial and custom arrays, have already been reported. The constant attempt to obtain reliable, sensitive, and robust methods has also driven the development of different molecular methods, relying on hybridization or on enzymatic techniques (such as minisequencing/extension or ligation). At the same time, probe design strategies and data analysis pipelines have been refined as well, in order to make result evaluations faster and less prone to errors. The high number of genetic information already available allowed reaching a resolution below the species level, being able to discriminate among serovars or strains, thanks to the careful choice of variable regions. Currently, the sensitivity of the assays can be as low as 1 CFU/g for some bacteria after enrichment. In this review, we present an overview of the most important advances in microarray technologies in the foodborne pathogen detection field.