Isolation of Salmonella from environmental and processing-plant poultry samples requires the sampling of large numbers of areas within the poultry house or plant. Subsequently, the required number of samples necessitates a large volume of work for a microbiology laboratory, especially when the protocol requires the inclusion of a delayed secondary enrichment for the isolation of Salmonella. This study examined the use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify those secondary enrichments containing Salmonella. The unique Salmonella virulence gene invA was chosen as the target for the development of a nested PCR because of its uniform distribution among Salmonella serotypes. The use of nested PCR primers increased the sensitivity of detection 100-fold, resulting in the detection of as few as four cells. There was a strong, statistically significant positive correlation between PCR and culture results as determined by chi-square (P < 0.001) and kappa (k = 0.915; excellent agreement) tests. Using PCR to screen primary enrichments for presumptive Salmonella contamination, we improved our efficiency at isolating Salmonella upon secondary enrichment by 20%, and no false negatives were observed. This method will not only validate the use of secondary enrichment procedures but also reduce costs and manpower required for the surveillance of Salmonella.

This content is only available as a PDF.