ABSTRACT

Foodborne viral contamination of fresh produce has been associated with numerous outbreaks. Detection of such contaminated foods is important in protecting public health. Here, we demonstrate for the first time the capability of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Enteric Viruses tiling microarray (FDA-EVIR) to perform rapid molecular identification of hepatitis A virus (HAV) and human norovirus extracted from artificially inoculated fresh produce. Two published viral extraction strategies, total RNA extraction or virus particle isolation, were used to prepare the viral targets. The total RNA extraction method was used on material eluted from tomatoes, using an alkaline Tris–glycine–beef extract (TGBE) buffer. Optimization procedures including DNase treatment and poly(A)-RNA enrichment were adopted to improve microarray sensitivity. For green onions or celery, material was eluted using either glycine buffer or TGBE buffer supplemented with pectinase, respectively, and then virus particles were concentrated by ultracentrifugation. We also assessed the amount of viral RNA extracted from celery using three commercially available kits and how well that RNA performed on FDA-EVIR. Our results confirm that FDA-EVIR can identify common enteric viruses isolated from fresh produce when present as either a single or mixed species of viruses. Using total RNA extraction from tomatoes yielded a limit of detection of 1.0 × 105 genome equivalents (ge) of HAV per array input. The limit of detection for viral RNA obtained using ultracentrifugation was 1.2 × 105 ge of HAV from green onions and 1.0 × 103 ge of norovirus from celery per array input. Extending microarray methods to other food matrices should provide important support to surveillance and outbreak investigations.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • FDA-EVIR microarray was able to detect enteric viruses isolated from produce.

  • Total RNA extraction required target enrichment for microarray analysis.

  • Ultracentrifugation improved preparation efficiency of targets for the microarray.

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