Test sensitivity of a commercial serine protease digestion kit for the detection of Trichinella spiralis and Trichinella pseudospiralis larvae in pig muscle
The reference method for Trichinella detection at meat inspection is the magnetic stirrer method (MSM) utilising HCl-pepsin for pooled sample digestion. Due to availability and quality issues with pepsin, alternative digestion methods are being offered, such as the Priocheck Trichinella AAD kit (T-AAD), based on serine endopeptidase digestion. In this study the T-AAD kit was compared to the reference method. Minced pork samples were spiked with T. spiralis muscle larvae (ML) with- and without capsule or T. pseudospiralis ML, and analysed with both tests. Test results of individually spiked test samples were analysed by generalised linear modelling. The T-AAD test kit was comparable to the reference method for the qualitative detection of T. spiralis in pigs, but not quantitatively. Overall, 94% of spiked T. spiralis were recovered using MSM against 75.2% when using T-AAD (p < 0.0001). Using the MSM 80.0% of spiked T. pseudospiralis were recovered against 20% with the T-AAD (p < 0.0001). Based on our experience with the T-AAD kit, we strongly recommend validating the method on site prior to introduction into routine diagnostic laboratories, but this will not alleviate the poor test sensitivity of the T-AAD for the detection of T. pseudospiralis.