National Reference Centre / OIE Reference Laboratory for Salmonellosis

National reference laboratory / OIE reference laboratory for salmonellosis

The IZSVe was designated as the National Reference Centre for Salmonellosis in 1999 by the Ministry of Health. In 2007, the Centre was recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a Reference Laboratory for Salmonellosis. The laboratory provides expertise, diagnostic services, training and support to OIE member countries.

The Centre is part of the IZSVe Public health and risk analysis laboratory, and it has been accredited in accordance with ISO 17025.

Activities and servicesProjects and collaborationsPublicationsContacts

Activities and services

The Centre performs phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of Salmonella strains isolated from samples of veterinary origin (animals, food, feed). Moreover, the Centre coordinates the Enter-vet net, which collects information on the results of Salmonella spp. typing at the national level. This net works in close collaboration the Enter-net system, which manages data on strains of human origin. The Enter-vet net involves all departments of the IZSVe, which provide the Centre with epidemiological data concerning all Salmonella strains; they also send all S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium strains for phage typing.

The Centre coordinates and manages national and regional monitoring and control programmes for Salmonella, in accordance with EC Regulation 2160/2003. The Centre collaborates with the Ministry of Health on developing national Salmonella monitoring and control programmes in animal populations. Experts working in the laboratory act as contact points for the Community reference laboratory of Bilthoven (NL), as well as for the EFSA Task Force on Zoonoses. The laboratory provides expertise to the European Commission and EFSA in the framework of different working groups.

The Centre organises annual ring trials for national laboratories, as external quality control for Salmonella serotyping and detection. The Centre performs sero – and phage-typing, as well as molecular typing for epidemiological investigations and subtyping of specific strains, and also for the study of antimicrobial resistance. Scientific and technical support is routinely provided to colleagues from different institutes, in both Italy and other countries, in the areas of:

  • implementation and management of monitoring and control programmes
  • diagnostic laboratory methods
  • innovative molecular methods, typing, antimicrobial resistance
  • cooperation with third countries (joint research projects, stages, training courses).

Reference strains are provided upon request.

Diagnostic capabilities

The Centre is in charge of studying and validating methods for Salmonella detection, typing and characterization.Specifically, the main methods applied are:

  • detection of Salmonella in samples collected at primary production, in food and feeding stuffs according to ISO 6579.
  • detection of Salmonella in food through Real Time PCR
  • serotyping according to the Kauffmann White Scheme
  • phage-typing
  • differentiation of S. Typhimurium and its monophasic variant and identification of the H1 antigenic complex through PCR
  • Pulse Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE)
  • Multiple-Locus Variable number tandem repeat Analysis (MLVA)
  • molecular serotyping through Luminex technique

Projects and collaborations

National and international research projects are carried out, particularly in the field of molecular methods for identifying foodborne pathogens (Real Time PCR, DNA arrays), quantitative microbiological risk assessment, and the prevention and control at primary production.

Some recent projects are listed below:

  • Ricerca Finalizzata IZSVE 2315184-2010 Molecular determination of Salmonella serovars by using microsphere-based suspension array
  • Ricerca Finalizzata IZSVE 2317095-2010 Assessing antibiotic resistance in nonpathogenic food-related bacteria: the impact on human gut microbiota
  • Usefulness of Escherichia coli and Enterobacteriaceae as Process Hygiene Criteria in poultry, funded by EFSA (CFT/EFSA/BIOHAZ/2012/03) (coordinated by IZSVe)
  • SafeOrganic Restrictive use of antibiotics in organic animal farming a potential for safer, high quality products with less antibiotic resistant bacteria (ongoing)
  • Ricerca Finalizzata PS ISS-VE 2007 Risk based microbiological criteria: a tool for consumers protection and intervention strategies optimisation
  • Ricerca Finalizzata 0208 Risk-benefit analysis as a tool to support and evaluate nutritional strategies
  • Safehouse: Analysis and control of egg contamination by Salmonella and other zoonotic pathogens after the move of laying hens to enriched cages and alternative housing systems (completed)


  • Losasso C., Cappa V., Cibin V., Mantovani C., Costa N., Faccio E., Andrighetto I., Ricci A. Food safety and hygiene lessons in the primary school: implications for risk-reduction behaviors. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 Jan;11(1):68-74.
  • Barco, E. Ramon, E. Cortini, A. Longo, M.C. Dalla Pozza, A.A. Lettini, A.M. Dionisi, J.E. Olsen, A. Ricci. Molecular characterization of Salmonella enterica serovar 4,[5],12:i:- DT193 ASSuT strains from two outbreaks in Italy. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2014 Feb;11(2):138-44.
  • Losasso C, Belluco S, Cibin V, Zavagnin P, Mičetić I, Gallocchio F, Zanella M, Bregoli L, Biancotto G, Ricci A. Antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles: sensitivity of different Salmonella serovars. Front Microbiol. 2014 May 26;5:227.
  • Barco L, Longo A, Lettini AA, Cortini E, Saccardin C, Minorello C, Olsen JE, Ricci A. Molecular characterization of “inconsistent” variants of Salmonella Typhimurium isolated in Italy. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 Jun;11(6):497-9.
  • A. Lettini, C. Saccardin, E. Ramon, A. Longo, E. Cortini, M.C. Dalla Pozza, L. Barco, B. Guerra, I. Luzzi, A. Ricci. Characterization of an unusual Salmonella phage type DT7a and report of a foodborne outbreak of salmonellosis. Int J Food Microbiol. 2014, 189, 11-17.
  • Barco L., Barrucci F., Olsen J.E., Ricci A.(2013) Salmonella source attribution based on microbial subtyping. International Journal of Food Microbiology 2013 May 15;163(2-3):193-203.
  • Scavia G., Ciaravino G., Luzzi I., Lenglet A., Ricci A., Barco L., Pavan A., Zaffanella F., Dionisi AM (2013) A multistate epidemic outbreak of salmonella Goldcoast infection in humans, June 2009 to March 2010: the investigation in Italy in Euro Surveill. 2013 Mar 14;18(11):20424.
  • Faccio E., Costa N., Losasso C., Cappa V., Mantovani C., Cibin V., Andrighetto I., Ricci A. (2013) What programs to promote health for children? Exploring beliefs on microorganisms and on food safety control behaviour in primary schools in Food Control. 2013, 33, 320-
  • Barco L, Mancin M, Ruffa M, Saccardin C, Minorello C, Zavagnin P, Lettini AA, Olsen JE, Ricci A. Application of the Random Forest method to analyse epidemiological and phenotypic characteristics of Salmonella 4,[5],12:i:- and Salmonella Typhimurium strains. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012 Nov;59(7):505-12.
  • A. Lettini, L. Barco, M. Mancin, E. Ramon, A. Longo, M.C. Dalla Pozza, M. Ruffa, R. Lucchini, A. Ricci. A Pilot Study for Identification of Salmonella in Food Processing Plants by Real-Time PCR Screening. Food Analytical Methods Food Anal. Methods 2012, 5:988–994.
  • Barco L., Lettini A.A., Ramon E., Longo A., Saccardin C., Pozza M.C., Ricci A. (2011) A rapid and sensitive method to identify and differentiate Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium and Salmonella enterica serotype 4,[5],12:i:- by combining traditional serotyping and multiplex polymerase chain reaction. Foodborne Pathog 2011 Jun;8(6):741-3.
  • Chiaretto., Zavagnin P., Bettini F., Mancin M., Minorello C., Saccardin C., Ricci A., (2008) Extended spectrum -lactamase SHV-12-producing salmonella from poultry Veterinary Microbiology, 128, pagg.406-413


Director of the National Reference Centre for Salmonellosis
Lisa Barco
Tel.: 049 8084305
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Director of the OIE Reference Laboratory for Salmonellosis
Antonia Ricci
Tel: 049 8084242
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