Real time PCR (quantitative PCR, qPCR) is now a well-established method for the detection, quantification, and typing of different microbial agents in the areas of clinical and veterinary diagnostics and food safety. Although the concept of PCR is relatively simple, there are specific issues in qPCR that developers and users of this technology must bear in mind. These include the use of correct terminology and definitions, understanding of the principle of PCR, difficulties with interpretation and presentation of data, the limitations of qPCR in different areas of microbial diagnostics and parameters important for the description of qPCR performance. It is not our intention in this review to describe every single aspect of qPCR design, optimization, and validation; however, it is our hope that this basic guide will help to orient beginners and users of qPCR in the use of this powerful technique.
Keywords: accuracy; limit of detection; limit of quantification; precision; quantitative PCR; trueness.