MLPA Detection of Foodborne Pathogens

MLPA Detection of Foodborne Pathogens

ESR has developed a MLPA assay that rapidly detects the genes important for Shiva toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) including the seven serotypes important to exporters of red meat to North America (e.g. E. coli HO157:H7). In addition ESR has also developed two PCR-based sub-typing assays (P-BIT), one for STEC and one for Campylobacter. There is significant international interest in these sub-typing assays but they currently require large numbers (18 for Campylobacter and 24 for STEC) of individual PCR reactions to produce a type profile. The conversion of these P-BIT assays to MLPA allows all of the targets to be detected in a single reaction. ESR has designed the probes for 38 E. coli and 14 Campylobacter gene targets to date. The genes have been chosen from published papers using gene sequences that are publicly available. The specific sequences of the probes have been chosen by ESR (for the STEC-Super 6 [12 probe sets], STEC P-BIT [24 probe sets], Campy P-BIT [14 probe sets] )


ESR is interested in working with parties interested in the identification of food borne pathogens with a view to further validating the assays and ultimately using them in a commercial sense.

Unique Selling Propositions
  • This technology provides a rapid, cost effective typing system that can be utilised by any laboratory that is capable of PCR (no expensive equipment required). Currently undertaking the STEC or Campylobacter P-BIT assays requires several days and hundreds of dollars in consumables per isolate. These MLPA assays could be completed within 24 hours and cost approximately the same as a single PCR reaction (approx cost of $35 to $100).
  • The technology could be used by meat testing laboratories and medical laboratories that detect and isolate STEC. In addition all laboratories that currently sub-type bacterial pathogens as well as any laboratories that isolate these bacterial groups and are capable of undertaking PCR could be potential users. Using this technology it ought to be possible for all human and food isolates to be sub-typed rather than the select few that currently undertaken due to the significant cost of sub-typing using current methods.
IP Strategy

Currently protected by trade secret although some opportunity exists to patent specific aspects of the technology

Project Status

Proof of Principle - Laboratory demonstration of principle only