The zoonotic protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis have been recorded worldwide in economically important edible shellfish, and are thus likely to represent a significant public health risk. Therefore, an innovative, user-friendly diagnostic tool is required in order to improve food safety control. The Q3 system is a miniaturized platform whose efficiency and applicability were investigated and compared with results obtained using standard Real-Time PCR. Tanks of saltwater containing acclimated Mytilus galloprovincialis, Ruditapes philippinarum and Ostrea edulis specimens were spiked with purified Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Toxoplasma cysts/oocysts at different concentrations (i.e., 103, 104 and 105). We then collected 30 specimens for each shellfish species from each group at 24 h and 72 h post-contamination. After DNA extraction, we tested all samples by Real-Time-PCR and Q3, and evaluated the sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, repeatability and concordance between the two systems. Concordance between Real-Time-PCR and Q3 was very good (p < 0.01), especially for Toxoplasma in M. galloprovincialis at both 24 h and 72 h after contamination, and in O. edulis at 72 h. The ability of Q3 to detect all the investigated pathogens was similar to that of Real-Time-PCR, and Q3 was efficient in detecting Toxoplasma in both M. galloprovincialis and O. edulis. This is the first study concerning the use of lab-on-chip technology in a food matrix, and in edible marine mollusks in particular.
Keywords: Food safety; Lab-on-chip efficiency; Protozoans; Real-Time PCR; Shellfish.
© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2019.
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