Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most widely distributed foodborne pathogens in the world and is responsible for severe infections in immunocompromised persons, pregnant women and neonates. As a result, the mortality rate in infected individuals is high despite the relatively low number of cases around the world. Listeria infections (listeriosis) can result in anything from mild gastroenteritis to severe cases of sepsis, meningitis, encephalitis or abortion. Due to the ubiquitous distribution of Listeria and their capability to grow at refrigeration temperatures ( 2 to 8 °C), food products constitute one of the main sources of infection. Listeria is a genus of Gram-positive, non-sporeforming, rod-shaped bacteria. Of the six known species of the genus Listeria, Listeria monocytogenes deserves particular mention as a human and animal pathogen; L. ivanovii is only pathogenic in animals, while L. innocua, L. seeligeri, L. grayi, and L. welshimeri are considered harmless environmental bacteria. Consequently, food legislation in many countries specifies strict limits for Listeria spp. or Listeria monocytogenes. In the conduct of risk-related quality controls in food, tests should be run for L. monocytogenes, and for the Listeria Genus in general. The presence of Listeria – in particular of L. innocua – is an indicator for critical hygienic conditions in the production process. Innovative, rapid tests make screening for pathogenic organisms easier. The one-step format reduces the possibility of errors during handling.
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