Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), also called real-time PCR or quantitative real-time PCR, is a PCR-based microbial testing technique that couples amplification of a target DNA sequence with quantification of the concentration of that DNA species in the reaction.
What is it used for?
Quantitative PCR can be used for several purposes in a biotechnological laboratory. One example from our laboratory is the enumeration of specific microorganisms, such as the enumeration of probiotic strains in a product. Quantitative PCR detection using strain-specific primers is combined with a plating method of the product. This is an accurate and relatively quick way of verifying the viable cell counts in a product.
Another example would be the identification of a probiotic strain in samples originating from a feeding trial. For example, a probiotic strain is fed to animals also receiving coccidiostats, and the compatibility of the additives is analysed.
A third purpose for qPCR would be the development of a method for the detection of genetically modified organisms (GMO) for validation by the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL). In the future, it may become more common that authorization is sought for genetically modified microorganisms (GMM) or products derived from microbial fermentation using GMMs. Thus far, the guidance documents provided by the EURL are for plants and must be followed where applicable.
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