Bacteriological control of drinking water largely relies on classical plate methods as they are prescribed by European legislation. This implicates that results are typically available after 48 hrs.
When urgent results are required, in case of contamination in the distribution network or at a production plant, rapid methods are necessary.
With the Polymerase Chain Reaction technique, distinct pieces of genetic code, characteristic for the target species, are rapidly multiplied and detected.
The analysis on its own only takes 2 hrs.
In our laboratory we perform Real-time PCR tests. The detection of the target DNA takes place while the PCR is still running. This is realized by using fluorescent probes. This technique is faster than ‘End Point’ PCR and there is less risk of contamination because the test tubes stay closed during the whole cycle. Real time PCR may be qualitative or quantitative.
At this moment real-time PCR is used for Salmonella and Campylobacter. The tests are AFNOR-validated.