Molecular characterization of L. monocytogenes and the significance for food hygiene

Wagner M., Hein I., Grif K., Sumerkan A., Esel D., Allerberger F.

BERLINER UND MUNCHENER TIERARZTLICHE WOCHENSCHRIFT, vol.116, pp.460-466, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 116
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.460-466
  • Kütahya Health Sciences University Affiliated: No


Research on the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is a key issue both for the clinical and the food microbiologist owing to the unique pathway of infection and the exposure of humans via contaminanted foods. Although, in Austria, the incidence of listeriosis is about 870-fold lower than the incidence for Salmonella infection, the food law manages both foodborne pathogens with a comparable stringency. The current risk management is based on the assumption that environmental L. monocytogenes isolates, from which the pool of "foodborne" isolates is recruited, are of similar pathogenicity compared to clinical and outbreak isolates. This verdict became doubted in the recent years. Characterization of L. monocytogenes by virulence gene sequencing, virulence studies in vivo and in vitro and by molecular typing was considerably stimulating the discussion on virulence variability in L. monocytogenes. This article provides insights in the value of epidemiological follow-up studies by presenting a typing study on 15 cases of listeriosis observed in a district hospital in Turkey. Furthermore results from typing L. monocytogenes either by virulence gene sequencing, mismatch amplification mutation assay or by pulsed field gel electrophoresis are discussed. The close interaction of molecular microbiology with food microbiology both in applied and basic science is currently creating a new discipline of molecular food microbiology. We are convinced that veterinary medicine will contribute to this exiting development in a fruitful way.