Oral Presentation Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

The need for speed: Development of a rapid Campylobacter detection system for the Australian chicken industry (#111)

Michael Mason 1 , Pat Blackall 2 , Jimmy Botella 1 , Jillian Templeton 3
  1. SAFS, The University of Queensland, BRISBANE, QLD, Australia
  2. QAAFI, The University of Queensland, BRISBANE, QLD, Australia
  3. AgriScience Queensland, DAF Queensland, BRISBANE, QLD, Australia

Campylobacter is responsible for the majority of food-borne infections in Australia with poultry meat being a major, but not the sole source. The chicken industry can further enhance the quality and safety of chicken meat products by having access to faster Campylobacter detection methods so that real-time risk management strategies can be implemented in the processing plant. Current culture-based methods for detection and determination of levels of Campylobacter take two to three days; we aimed to reduce this time to two to three hours. We have taken up this challenge and have now developed a low-cost and rapid (~2 hours) detection system that has only six simple steps and requires very little hands-on time to perform. The assay is capable of distinguishing between chicken rinsate samples that are either within or exceed the industry set benchmark of 6000 Campylobacter cfu per carcass with a very low error rate. To achieve this, we have developed and incorporated a number of technologies that were designed to reduce both the amount of time and sample processing required. These technologies include a rapid 30 second DNA extraction technique and a rapid and equipment-free DNA amplification readout method that allows the user to visualise the results of the assay within seconds. This work was funded by the Chicken Meat Committee of the AgriFutures Australia and DAF.