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Listeriosis is a foodborne disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes and is considered as a serious health problem, due to the severity of symptoms and the high mortality rate. Recently, other Listeria species have been associated with disease in human and animals. The aim of this study was to develop a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in order to simultaneously detect six Listeria species (L. grayi, L. welshimeri, L. ivanovii, L. monocytogenes, L. seeligeri, L. innocua) in a single reaction. One hundred eighteen Listeria spp. strains, isolated from meat products (sausages) and processing plants (surfaces in contact and not in contact with meat), were included in the study. All the strains were submitted to biochemical identification using the API Listeria system. A multiplex PCR was developed with the aim to identify the six species of Listeria. PCR allowed to uniquely identify strains that had expressed a doubtful profile with API Listeria The results suggest that the multiplex PCR could represent a rapid and sensitive screening test, a reliable method for the detection of all Listeria species, both in contaminated food and in clinical samples, and also a tool that could be used for epidemiological purposes in food-borne outbreaks. A further application could be the development of a PCR that can be directly applied to the pre-enrichment broth.
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