The isolation of DNA-free RNA is a crucial step in the reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR). Every RNA extraction procedure results in RNA samples contaminated with genomic DNA, which can cause false-positive outcomes in highly sensitive applications, including a recently developed quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) assay that targets invA mRNA for the detection of live Salmonella cells. The assay of this specific mRNA can be used to indicate the presence of live, as opposed to dead, cells of Salmonella enterica in a food matrix.
We evaluated the ability of five RNA extraction kits to produce RNA preparations from exponentially growing Salmonella cells. The acceptability of the preparations for use in downstream applications such as RT-qPCR was judged in terms of the total amount of RNA recovered, the integrity of the RNA molecules, and minimal content of DNA. The five kits produced RNA preparations that differed markedly in yield, integrity of the Salmonella RNA and the amount of contaminant DNA. The greatest RNA recovery was achieved with the MasterPure kit; however, the preparation contained high levels of genomic DNA. The UltraClean extraction kit gave a low level of RNA recovery with a poor level of integrity. The RNeasy Mini, RiboPure and PureLink extraction kits produced high-quality, DNA-free RNA suitable for Salmonella detection by RT-qPCR.
We showed that the RNeasy Mini and PureLink RNA extraction kits were the most suitable for the detection of Salmonella invA mRNA by RT-qPCR. The use of these two kits will greatly reduce the frequency of false-positive results and might allow fast RT-qPCR determination of invA mRNA produced by viable Salmonella in food samples.