Journal: International journal of food microbiology, vol. 78, p. 171–180, 2002
International Standard Numbers:
Open Access: none
Several challenges still persist in the analysis of microorganisms in foods, particularly in studies of complex communities. Nucleic acid-based methods are promising tools in addressing new questions concerning microbial communities. We have developed several new methods in the field of nucleic acid-based microbial community analyses. These methods cover both sample preparation and detection approaches. The sample preparation method involves simplified DNA purification using paramagnetic beads. As an extension of this method, the same paramagnetic beads are used for both cell separation and DNA purification. This enables full automation. The separate detection of viable and dead bacteria is a major issue in nucleic acid-based diagnostics. We have applied a living/dead dye that binds covalently to DNA and inhibits the PCR from dead cells. In addition, a DNA array-based detection assay has been developed. The assay combines the specificity obtained by enzymatic labeling of DNA probes with the possibility of detecting several targets simultaneously by DNA array hybridization. In combination with 16S rDNA amplification, this is a promising tool for community analyses. Also, we have developed a novel approach for multiplex quantitative PCR. The multiplex PCR has been combined with our DNA array-based detection method. Finally, we are now in the process of adapting a system for monitoring microbial growth and death in real-time through the tagging of bacteria with green fluorescent protein (GFP) combined with fluorescence detection using a high-resolution confocal laser scanner.