Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, has often been linked to oral transmission through açai consumption. Molecular methods that allow fast and accurate identification of the pathogen are important for the detection of the presence of the parasite in this food. This study aimed to optimize polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based detection of T. cruzi DNA in açai pulp. Several dilutions of T. cruzi DTU TcI trypomastigote forms were cultured in liver infusion tryptose (LIT) medium. Trypanosoma cruzi DNA was extracted from the cells and subjected to PCR. Subsequently, culture dilutions were added to açai pulp to evaluate the detection threshold of the optimized PCR assay. We demonstrate that our assay can detect T. cruzi DNA in açai pulp at a concentration of 1.08 × 10-10 ng µL-1. We conclude that our optimized protocol is effective and can be used as an important tool for the detection of T. cruzi contamination in açaí.
detection method; foodborne disease; food pathogen; molecular detection; Chagas disease