Efficiency of the Q3 lab-on-chip Real Time-PCR platform for detecting protozoan pathogens in bivalve mollusks

Annunziata Giangaspero, Marianna Marangi, Maria Stefania Latrofa, Giada Annoscia, Lorenza Putignani, Gioia Capelli, Lucia Bonassisa, Giovanni Normanno, Domenico Otranto, Marco Cereda, Francesco Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The zoonotic protozoan parasites Toxoplasma gondii, Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia duodenalis have been recorded worldwide in economically important edible shellfish, and are thus likely to represent a significant public health risk. Therefore, an innovative, user-friendly diagnostic tool is required in order to improve food safety control. The Q3 system is a miniaturized platform whose efficiency and applicability were investigated and compared with results obtained using standard Real-Time PCR. Tanks of saltwater containing acclimated Mytilus galloprovincialis, Ruditapes philippinarum and Ostrea edulis specimens were spiked with purified Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Toxoplasma cysts/oocysts at different concentrations (i.e., 103, 104 and 105). We then collected 30 specimens for each shellfish species from each group at 24 h and 72 h post-contamination. After DNA extraction, we tested all samples by Real-Time-PCR and Q3, and evaluated the sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, repeatability and concordance between the two systems. Concordance between Real-Time-PCR and Q3 was very good (p < 0.01), especially for Toxoplasma in M. galloprovincialis at both 24 h and 72 h after contamination, and in O. edulis at 72 h. The ability of Q3 to detect all the investigated pathogens was similar to that of Real-Time-PCR, and Q3 was efficient in detecting Toxoplasma in both M. galloprovincialis and O. edulis. This is the first study concerning the use of lab-on-chip technology in a food matrix, and in edible marine mollusks in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5000-5008
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Food Science and Technology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Food safety
  • Lab-on-chip efficiency
  • Protozoans
  • Real-Time PCR
  • Shellfish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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