Methods for the isolation and identification of Listeria spp. and Listeria monocytogenes: a review

FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Uta GasanovPhilip M Hansbro


Listeria monocytogenes is an important food-borne pathogen and is widely tested for in food, environmental and clinical samples. Identification traditionally involved culture methods based on selective enrichment and plating followed by the characterization of Listeria spp. based on colony morphology, sugar fermentation and haemolytic properties. These methods are the gold standard; but they are lengthy and may not be suitable for testing of foods with short shelf lives. As a result more rapid tests were developed based on antibodies (ELISA) or molecular techniques (PCR or DNA hybridization). While these tests possess equal sensitivity, they are rapid and allow testing to be completed within 48 h. More recently, molecular methods were developed that target RNA rather than DNA, such as RT-PCR, real time PCR or nucleic acid based sequence amplification (NASBA). These tests not only provide a measure of cell viability but they can also be used for quantitative analysis. In addition, a variety of tests are available for sub-species characterization, which are particularly useful in epidemiological investigations. Early typing methods differentiated isolates based on phenotypic markers, such as multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, pha...Continue Reading


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