A rapid qualitative assay for detection of Clostridium perfringens in canned food products
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Clostridium perfringens (MTCC 1349) is a Gram-positive, anaerobic, endospore forming, and rod-shaped bacterium. This bacterium produces a variety of toxins under strict anaerobic environment. C. perfringens can grow at temperatures ranging between 20°C and 50°C. It is the major causetive agent for gas gangrene, cellulitis, septicemia, necrotic enteritis and food poisoning, which are common toxin induced conditions noted in human and animals. C. perfringens can produce produce four major types of toxins that are used for the classification of strains, classified under type A-E. Across the globe many countries, including the United States, are affected by C. perfringens food poisonings where it is ranked as one of the most common causes of food borne infections. To date, no direct one step assay for the detection of C. perfringens has been developed and only few methods are known for accurate detection of C. perfringens. Long detection and incubation time is the major consideration of these reporter assays. The prensent study proposes a rapid and reliable colorimetric assay for the detection of C. perfringens. In principale, this assay detects the para nitrophenyl (yellow colour end product) liberated due to the hydrolysis of paranitrophenyl phosphetidyl choline (PNPC) through phospholipase C (lecithinase). Constitutive secretion of phospholipase C is a charactristic feature of C. perfringens. This assay detects the presence of the extracellular lecithinse through the PNPC impragnated impregnated probe. The probe is impregnated with peranitrophenyl phosphotidyl choline ester, which is colourless substrate used by lecithinase. The designed assay is specific towards PNPC and detectes very small quantites of lecithinase under conditions used. The reaction is substrate specific, no cross reaction was observed upon incubation with other substrates. In addition, this assay gave negative results with other clostridium strains, no cross reactions were observed with other experimental strains like C. tetani, C. botulinum, C. acetobutyricum, Bacillus subtilis, and Escherichia coli. This assay is extramly rapid and provides reliable and reproducible results within one hour of incubation at 37°C.
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