Value and Methods for Molecular Subtyping of Bacteria

Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Tracking sources of microbial contaminants has been a concern since the early days of commercial food processing; however, recent advances in the development of molecular subtyping methods have provided tools that allow more rapid and highly accurate determinations of these sources. Only individuals with an understanding of the molecular subtyping methods, and the epidemiological techniques used, can evaluate the reliability of a link between a food-manufacturing plant, a food, and a foodborne disease outbreak.

In principle, the goal of molecular subtyping methods is to compare the genetic material of two or more bacterial isolates to determine whether they have shared a recent common ancestor. The chapter addresses some of more commonly applied subtyping methods including pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), ribotyping, PCR methods applied to fragment length polymorphisms (RAPD and REP-PCR), DNA sequencing-based subtyping, and other characterization methods. This chapter also includes case studies. In preparing for potential emergencies, food companies may consider adding an outside expert in molecular subtyping to their emergency response team.


Lactic Acid Bacterium Foodborne Pathogen Outbreak Investigation Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus Salmonella Enteritidis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Kellogg CompanyBattle CreekUSA
  2. 2.The Kroger CompanyCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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