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Molecular detection of Trypanosoma cruzi in acai pulp and sugarcane juice.

Acta Trop; 176: 311-315, 2017 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28859960
Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi affects about 6-8 million people worldwide. Although transmission by triatomine insects has been controlled, other means of transmission maintain the infection. These forms of transmission are responsible for introducing Chagas disease in other non-endemic countries of the world. Thus, Chagas disease, nowadays is a worldwide health problem. In Brazil, acai pulp and sugarcane juice have been associated with Chagas disease outbreaks. The difficulties in isolation of the parasite from foods are hampering source tracking which could allow the confirmation of an implicated food commodity in these outbreak investigations. To address this scientific gap, we evaluated the performance of real-time PCR (qPCR) for detecting T. cruzi in acai pulp and sugarcane juice. All experiments were performed with acai pulp and sugarcane juice samples contaminated with different concentrations of T. cruzi. In assays with qPCR, the results showed that the ideal procedure for T. cruzi identification in acai pulp and sugarcane juice consisted of: i. centrifugation; ii. DNA extraction with a commercial kit for stool matrix; and iii. qPCR using a specific molecular marker for T. cruzi. The seeding in LIT medium of experimentally contaminated foods was effective in detecting the parasitic load by qPCR. The efficacy of qPCR was also verified testing food samples crushed with infected Triatomines. In conclusion, this methodology can be used to perform rapid diagnosis in outbreaks, facilitating measures in disease control.