Molecular methods for serovar determination of Salmonella

Chunlei Shi, Pranjal Singh, Matthew Louis Ranieri, Martin Wiedmann, Andrea Isabel Moreno Switt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Salmonella is a diverse foodborne pathogen, which has more than 2600 recognized serovars. Classification of Salmonella isolates into serovars is essential for surveillance and epidemiological investigations; however, determination of Salmonella serovars, by traditional serotyping, has some important limitations (e.g. labor intensive, time consuming). To overcome these limitations, multiple methods have been investigated to develop molecular serotyping schemes. Currently, molecular methods to predict Salmonella serovars include (i) molecular subtyping methods (e.g. PFGE, MLST), (ii) classification using serovar-specific genomic markers and (iii) direct methods, which identify genes encoding antigens or biosynthesis of antigens used for serotyping. Here, we reviewed reported methodologies for Salmonella molecular serotyping and determined the "serovar-prediction accuracy", as the percentage of isolates for which the serovar was correctly classified by a given method. Serovar-prediction accuracy ranged from 0 to 100%, 51 to 100% and 33 to 100% for molecular subtyping, serovar-specific genomic markers and direct methods, respectively. Major limitations of available schemes are errors in predicting closely related serovars (e.g. Typhimurium and 4,5,12:i:-), and polyphyletic serovars (e.g. Newport, Saintpaul). The high diversity of Salmonella serovars represents a considerable challenge for molecular serotyping approaches. With the recent improvement in sequencing technologies, full genome sequencing could be developed into a promising molecular approach to serotype Salmonella.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-325
Number of pages17
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Molecular serotyping
  • Salmonella serovar determination
  • Salmonella subtyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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