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US: Fast detection of Cyclospora cayetanensis in berries

Fresh Plaza: The consumption of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries has increased worldwide in recent years because these fruits are considered an important source of antioxidant compounds. Unfortunately, consumption of berries is associated with a risk of foodborne parasites, such as Cyclospora cayetanensis.

In the USA and Canada, many cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to consumption of berries, while at the farm level, the presence of this human pathogen in berries is directly associated with the presence of the parasite in soil. For these reasons, it is fundamental that producers monitor the presence of this pathogen on farms and packing facilities.

Conventionally, detection of C. cayetanensis in clinical and environmental samples is based on identification of oocysts by microscopy, following modified acid fast staining or by UV-light autofluorescence under ultraviolet, this technique is time-consuming, non-specific, and lacks sensitivity. To overcome these issues, food producing industry requires a molecular method able to detect a low oocyst concentration (40–1500 oocyst per gram) as found in food and environmental samples. More.