Listeriosis Reference Service (LRS)

Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Pathogen isolation, bacterial strain characterization (i.e. molecular typing) and bacterial identification.

Areas of expertise

Major goals of the Listeriosis Reference Service (LRS) include investigation of listeriosis cases and maintenance of a national collection of isolates. The LRS houses a comprehensive molecular epidemiological database of all isolates in Canada for use as a resource for outbreak investigations, research and other microbiological investigations. Molecular profiles (whole genome sequencing, Bruker MALDI-TOF ) and bioinformatics analyses for clinical, food, environmental, and possibly animal strains of Listeria species as well as other foodborne and human pathogens. 

The LRS participates in PulseNet Canada for real-time molecular surveillance for listeriosis, and utilizes whole genome sequencing combined with bioinformatics typing for outbreak investigations. The molecular epidemiological data, timely coordination and exchange of information is used to help reduce the incidence of listeriosis in Canada. 

Research services
  • Assist physicians and Provincial Departments of Health when foodborne listeriosis is suspected
  • Examine suspect clinical, environmental, and food specimens submitted for analysis
  • Rapidly alert responsible agencies when commercial foods are involved
  • Maintain reference cultures of Listeriae
  • Liaise with centres that have similar interests and responsibilities in Canada and abroad
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
Bruker MALDI-TOF systemMatrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization/Time-of-Flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry for microbial identification.
Biolog OmniLog PM systemPhenotype MicroArray (PM) System. Microbial identification and characterization.
Agilent TapeStation systemAutomated electrophoresis for DNA and RNA quality control.
Qubit Flex FluorometerMeasurement of DNA, RNA, microRNA, and proteins.
Illumina MiSeq Sequencing SystemWhole genome sequencing.
Illumina iSeq 100 Sequencing SystemWhole genome sequencing.
Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencerWhole genome sequencing.
High-computing power desktop/laptops Bioinformatics and data analysis.