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1.  Characterization of Bacterial and Fungal Soil Communities by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis Fingerprints: Biological and Methodological Variability 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2001;67(10):4479-4487.
Automated rRNA intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was used to characterise bacterial (B-ARISA) and fungal (F-ARISA) communities from different soil types. The 16S-23S intergenic spacer region from the bacterial rRNA operon was amplified from total soil community DNA for B-ARISA. Similarly, the two internal transcribed spacers and the 5.8S rRNA gene (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) from the fungal rRNA operon were amplified from total soil community DNA for F-ARISA. Universal fluorescence-labeled primers were used for the PCRs, and fragments of between 200 and 1,200 bp were resolved on denaturing polyacrylamide gels by use of an automated sequencer with laser detection. Methodological (DNA extraction and PCR amplification) and biological (inter- and intrasite) variations were evaluated by comparing the number and intensity of peaks (bands) between electrophoregrams (profiles) and by multivariate analysis. Our results showed that ARISA is a high-resolution, highly reproducible technique and is a robust method for discriminating between microbial communities. To evaluate the potential biases in community description provided by ARISA, we also examined databases on length distribution of ribosomal intergenic spacers among bacteria (L. Ranjard, E. Brothier, and S. Nazaret, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66:5334–5339, 2000) and fungi.
PMCID: PMC93193  PMID: 11571146
2.  Automated Approach for Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis of Microbial Diversity and Its Application to Freshwater Bacterial Communities 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  1999;65(10):4630-4636.
An automated method of ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was developed for the rapid estimation of microbial diversity and community composition in freshwater environments. Following isolation of total community DNA, PCR amplification of the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region in the rRNA operon was performed with a fluorescence-labeled forward primer. ARISA-PCR fragments ranging in size from 400 to 1,200 bp were next discriminated and measured by using an automated electrophoresis system. Database information on the 16S-23S intergenic spacer was also examined, to understand the potential biases in diversity estimates provided by ARISA. In the analysis of three natural freshwater bacterial communities, ARISA was rapid and sensitive and provided highly reproducible community-specific profiles at all levels of replication tested. The ARISA profiles of the freshwater communities were quantitatively compared in terms of both their relative diversity and similarity level. The three communities had distinctly different profiles but were similar in their total number of fragments (range, 34 to 41). In addition, the pattern of major amplification products in representative profiles was not significantly altered when the PCR cycle number was reduced from 30 to 15, but the number of minor products (near the limit of detection) was sensitive to changes in cycling parameters. Overall, the results suggest that ARISA is a rapid and effective community analysis technique that can be used in conjunction with more accurate but labor-intensive methods (e.g., 16S rRNA gene cloning and sequencing) when fine-scale spatial and temporal resolution is needed.
PMCID: PMC91617  PMID: 10508099
3.  Bacteriologic study of cirrhotic patients with non-neutrocytic ascites  
Aim: We aimed for detection of bacterial DNA (bactDNA) in spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and its prognostic relevance in cirrhotic patients with culture-negative non-neutrocytic ascites (CNNNA).
Background: approximately 60% of patients with spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) are ascites culture negative.
Patients and methods: Of each 77 patients with cirrhosis and ascites, two samples including blood and ascitic fluid (AF) were taken. Blood samples were obtained for routine biochemical study and PMN count. AF samples were used for biochemical analysis and aerobic and anaerobic culture. BactDNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using bacterial universal 16srRNA gene primer.
Results: Of all AF samples, 3 (3.9%) were positive for bacterial culture (one streptococcus α hemolytic and two E.coli). The mean number of PMN in AF was 63. BactDNA was detected in 33 (42.9%) of 77 of samples (group A) and bactDNA was absent in 41 (53.2%) of samples (group B). Blood WBC, prothrombin time, LDH, serum total protein, AF WBC, serum albumin, AF albumin, AF total protein, serum total bilirubin, AST, ALT and BUN were not statically different among group A and B. Hepatitis B, 41(45%), was the most frequent cause of cirrhosis.
Conclusion: Hepatitis B is the common cause of cirrhosis in Iranian cirrhotic patients. Also, current study showed that high number of Iranian cirrhotic patients with CNNNA carries bactDNA in their AF. The clinical findings as well as clinical laboratory data in patients with CNNNA are independent to bactDNA status in their ascitic fluid.
PMCID: PMC4185877  PMID: 25289137
Ascitic fluid; BactDNA; Cirrhosis;  Culture-negative non-neutrocytic ascites; Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis
4.  Comparison of Primer Sets for Use in Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis of Aquatic Bacterial Communities: an Ecological Perspective▿  
Two primer sets for automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) were used to assess the bacterial community composition (BCC) in Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, over 3 years. Correspondence analysis revealed differences in community profiles generated by different primer sets, but overall ecological patterns were conserved in each case. ARISA is a powerful tool for evaluating BCC change through space and time, regardless of the specific primer set used.
PMCID: PMC1796982  PMID: 17122397
5.  Evaluation of an ethidium monoazide–enhanced 16S rDNA real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for bacterial screening of platelet concentrates and comparison with automated culture 
Transfusion  2013;54(3 Pt 2):870-878.
Culture-based systems are currently the preferred means for bacterial screening of platelet (PLT) concentrates. Alternative bacterial detection techniques based on nucleic acid amplification have also been developed but these have yet to be fully evaluated. In this study we evaluate a novel 16S rDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and compare its performance with automated culture.
A total of 2050 time-expired, 176 fresh, and 400 initial-reactive PLT packs were tested by real-time PCR using broadly reactive 16S primers and a “universal” probe (TaqMan, Invitrogen). PLTs were also tested using a microbial detection system (BacT/ALERT, bioMérieux) under aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
Seven of 2050 (0.34%) time-expired PLTs were found repeat reactive by PCR on the initial nucleic acid extract but none of these was confirmed positive on testing frozen second aliquots. BacT/ALERT testing also failed to confirm any time-expired PLTs positive on repeat testing, although 0.24% were reactive on the first test. Three of the 400 “initial-reactive” PLT packs were found by both PCR and BacT/ALERT to be contaminated (Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Streptococcus vestibularis identified) and 14 additional packs were confirmed positive by BacT/ALERT only. In 13 of these cases the contaminating organisms were identified as anaerobic skin or oral commensals and the remaining pack was contaminated with Streptococcus pneumoniae.
These results demonstrate that the 16S PCR assay is less sensitive than BacT/ALERT and inappropriate for early testing of concentrates. However, rapid PCR assays such as this may be suitable for a strategy of late or prerelease testing.
PMCID: PMC4282358  PMID: 23701338
Journal of phycology  2008;44(3):10.1111/j.1529-8817.2008.00518.x.
Pseudo-nitzschia-specific PCR primers (PnAll F/R) were designed to amplify a polymorphic region of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) from at least 11 Pseudo-nitzschia species. The primers were used to generate environmental clone libraries from Puget Sound, Washington, and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to confirm that the primers were specific for Pseudo-nitzschia and to determine the extent of ITS1 sequence diversity within individual species. All environmental ITS1 sequences generated with PnAll primers displayed the greatest similarity to known Pseudo-nitzschia ITS1 sequences. The length of cloned ITS1 fragments differed among species but was conserved within a species. Intraspecific genotypes exhibited <3% sequence divergence for seven of the 10 species detected in clone libraries. Several ITS1 genotypes unique to the Pacific Northwest were identified in environmental samples, and other genotypes were more broadly distributed. The Pseudo-nitzschia primers were also used to develop an automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) to rapidly identify Pseudo-nitzschia species in environmental samples based on species-specific variation in the length of the targeted ITS1 region. The ARISA peaks were then associated with the environmental clone sequences for Pseudo-nitzschia species. Surveying the genetic composition of communities at both the inter- and intraspecific levels will enhance our understanding of Pseudo-nitzschia bloom dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3873754  PMID: 24376283
ARISA; Bacillariophyceae; diatoms; diversity; environmental clone libraries; genotypes; ITS; Pseudo-nitzschia; Puget Sound; Vancouver Island
7.  Multiplex PCR Protocol for the Diagnosis of Staphylococcal Infection 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2001;39(9):3332-3338.
We report the development of a multiplex PCR protocol for the diagnosis of staphylococcal infection. The protocol was designed to (i) detect any staphylococcal species to the exclusion of other bacterial pathogens (based on primers corresponding to Staphylococcus-specific regions of the 16S rRNA genes), (ii) distinguish between S. aureus and the coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (based on amplification of the S. aureus-specific clfA gene), and (iii) provide an indication of the likelihood that the staphylococci present in the specimen are resistant to oxacillin (based on amplification of the mecA gene). The expected fragments were amplified from each of 60 staphylococcal isolates (13 oxacillin-resistant S. aureus isolates, 23 oxacillin-sensitive S. aureus isolates, 17 oxacillin-resistant CNS, and 7 oxacillin-sensitive CNS). No amplification products were observed with template DNA from nonstaphylococcal species, and the efficiency of amplification of staphylococcal targets was not adversely affected by the presence of DNA from other bacterial species in the same sample. The utility of the protocol for the analysis of clinical samples was verified by analysis of aliquots taken directly from BacT/Alert blood culture bottles. Of 77 blood cultures tested, only 7 yielded results inconsistent with those of conventional methods of diagnosis and susceptibility testing. Of those, one was identified as a CNS species by PCR and S. aureus by conventional methods. We also identified two isolates that were mecA positive but were oxacillin sensitive according to conventional methods. The other four samples failed to yield any amplification product even with a control set of primers corresponding to a conserved region of the eubacterial rRNA genes.
PMCID: PMC88340  PMID: 11526172
8.  Controlled Comparison of BACTEC 13A, MYCO/F LYTIC, BacT/ALERT MB, and ISOLATOR 10 Systems for Detection of Mycobacteremia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(5):1987-1990.
To compare the performance of the BACTEC 13A (Becton Dickinson, Sparks, Md.), BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC (Becton Dickinson), BacT/ALERT MB (bioMérieux, Durham, N.C.), and ISOLATOR 10 lysis-centrifugation (Wampole Laboratories, Cranbury, N.J.) systems for detection of mycobacteremia in adults, we inoculated 5-ml aliquots of blood from patients with suspected mycobacteremia into the bottle or tube required for each system. Of 600 sets tested, 85 (14%) yielded Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and 9 (2%) yielded other species of mycobacteria. Of 26 complete (three bottles and one tube) adequately filled (5 ± 1 ml) sets from which MAC was recovered, BACTEC 13A was positive for 19 (73%), BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC was positive for 21 (81%), BacT/ALERT MB was positive for 22 (85%), and ISOLATOR 10 was positive for 21 (81%). Of the six possible two-way comparisons, the mean times to detection for the recovery of MAC from each bottle in positive adequately paired sets were 15.3 days for BACTEC 13A versus 12.8 days for MYCO/F LYTIC for 33 of 340 pairs, 14.1 days for BACTEC 13A versus 11.6 days for BacT/ALERT MB for 38 of 380 pairs, 12.6 days for BACTEC 13A versus 20.0 days for ISOLATOR 10 for 26 of 261 pairs, 12.8 days for BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC versus 11.0 days for BacT/ALERT MB for 33 of 340 pairs, 13.2 days for BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC versus 20.4 days for ISOLATOR 10 for 24 of 230 pairs, and 9.9 days for BacT/ALERT MB versus 19.0 days for ISOLATOR 10 for 24 of 257 pairs. There were no significant differences in yields between the systems. However, the mean time to detection differed significantly among the systems. The time to detection was shortest for BacT/ALERT MB, followed by BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC and BACTEC 13A and then ISOLATOR 10. Although the numbers were too small for statistical comparison, the time to detection was substantially shorter for MAC than for Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in the liquid systems. The continuously monitored systems (BACTEC MYCO/F LYTIC and BacT/ALERT MB) were as sensitive and, on balance, faster for the detection of MAC bacteremia than were the heretofore standard manual ISOLATOR 10 and radiometric BACTEC 13A systems.
PMCID: PMC154703  PMID: 12734238
9.  Geographic and Environmental Sources of Variation in Lake Bacterial Community Composition†  
This study used a genetic fingerprinting technique (automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis [ARISA]) to characterize microbial communities from a culture-independent perspective and to identify those environmental factors that influence the diversity of bacterial assemblages in Wisconsin lakes. The relationships between bacterial community composition and 11 environmental variables for a suite of 30 lakes from northern and southern Wisconsin were explored by canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). In addition, the study assessed the influences of ARISA fragment detection threshold (sensitivity) and the quantitative, semiquantitative, and binary (presence-absence) use of ARISA data. It was determined that the sensitivity of ARISA was influential only when presence-absence-transformed data were used. The outcomes of analyses depended somewhat on the data transformation applied to ARISA data, but there were some features common to all of the CCA models. These commonalities indicated that differences in bacterial communities were best explained by regional (i.e., northern versus southern Wisconsin lakes) and landscape level (i.e., seepage lakes versus drainage lakes) factors. ARISA profiles from May samples were consistently different from those collected in other months. In addition, communities varied along gradients of pH and water clarity (Secchi depth) both within and among regions. The results demonstrate that environmental, temporal, regional, and landscape level features interact to determine the makeup of bacterial assemblages in northern temperate lakes.
PMCID: PMC544217  PMID: 15640192
10.  PCR Assay Specific for Chicken Feces 
Bacteroidales are fecal anaerobic bacteria that are common in the digestive systems and feces of warm-blooded animals. Some strains of Bacteroidales have been reported to be host-specific. In this study, Bacteroidales strains from chicken feces were examined for their potential use as indicators of chicken fecal contamination. Bacteroidales 16S rRNA gene sequences from chicken feces were amplified, cloned and sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using these sequences and published Bacteroidales 16S rRNA gene sequences from human and bovine feces. Primers were designed based on putative chicken feces-specific 16S rRNA gene sequences and the primer pairs were tested for specificity in PCR assays. One set of primers, chBact F1 and chBact R16, specifically amplified DNA from chicken feces in a PCR assay, but did not amplify wild turkey, cat, bovine, or deer fecal DNAs. In addition, DNA from feces contaminated straw-based chicken litter produced a product in the PCR assay. However, DNA from feces contaminated wood shavings-based chicken litter was not amplified. The PCR assay described here may prove a useful tool for the detection of chicken feces and for source tracking in watersheds with fecal contamination.
PMCID: PMC4022594  PMID: 24839330
11.  Variation in the Spacer Regions Separating tRNA Genes in Renibacterium salmoninarum Distinguishes Recent Clinical Isolates from the Same Location 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2001;39(1):119-128.
A means for distinguishing between clinical isolates of Renibacterium salmoninarum that is based on the PCR amplification of length polymorphisms in the tRNA intergenic spacer regions (tDNA-ILPs) was investigated. The method used primers specific to nucleotide sequences of R. salmoninarum tRNA genes and tRNA intergenic spacer regions that had been generated by using consensus tRNA gene primers. Twenty-one PCR products were sequenced from five isolates of R. salmoninarum from the United States, England, and Scotland, and four complete tRNA genes and spacer regions were identified. Sixteen specific PCR primers were designed and tested singly and in all possible pairwise combinations for their potential to discriminate between isolates from recent clinical outbreaks of bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in the United Kingdom. Fourteen of the isolates were cultured from kidney samples taken from fish displaying clinical signs of BKD on five farms, and some of the isolates came from the same farm and at the same time. The tDNA-ILP profiles separated 22 clinical isolates into nine groups and highlighted that some farms may have had more than one source of infection. The grouping of isolates improved on the discriminatory power of previously reported typing methods based on randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis and restriction fragment length profiles developed using insertion sequence IS994. Our method enabled us to make divisions between closely related clinical isolates of R. salmoninarum that have identical exact tandem repeat (ETR-A) loci, rRNA intergenic spacer sequences, and IS994 profiles.
PMCID: PMC87690  PMID: 11136759
12.  Comparison of the MB/BacT System with a Revised Antibiotic Supplement Kit to the BACTEC 460 System for Detection of Mycobacteria in Clinical Specimens 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(11):3234-3238.
The MB/BacT system (MB/BacT) with a revised antibiotic supplement kit was compared with the BACTEC 460 system (BACTEC 460) in a test of 488 specimens submitted for mycobacterial culture from 302 patients. Twenty-four Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates were detected by the BACTEC 460 versus 23 isolates by the MB/BacT. Mean time until detection of M. tuberculosis isolates identified by both systems was 11.9 days for the BACTEC 460 versus 13.7 days for the MB/BacT (P = 0.046). M. avium complex was detected in 12 specimens by the MB/BacT versus 10 specimens by the BACTEC 460. Only 8 of 14 (57%) M. avium isolates were detected by both systems, with a mean time until detection of 10.1 days for the BACTEC 460 and 14.2 days for the MB/BacT (P = 0.009). The BACTEC 460 and the MB/BacT detected M. gordonae in four specimens, but only a single specimen was positive by both systems. One M. fortuitum isolate and one of five M. kansasii isolates were recovered only by the BACTEC 460. The bacterial overgrowth rate was 7.0% for the MB/BacT versus 4.1% for the BACTEC 460. We found the MB/BacT to be comparable to the BACTEC 460 for mycobacterial detection. Even though time until detection with the MB/BacT was slightly longer (1.8 days longer for M. tuberculosis and 4.1 days for M. avium [mean values]) and the bacterial overgrowth rate was somewhat higher, the decreased labor, the availability of a computerized data management system, and the noninvasive, nonradiometric aspects of the MB/BacT offset these relative disadvantages and make it an acceptable alternative for use in the diagnostic laboratory.
PMCID: PMC105307  PMID: 9774571
13.  Comparison of Two Fingerprinting Techniques, Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism and Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis, for Determination of Bacterial Diversity in Aquatic Environments 
We investigated bacterial diversity in different aquatic environments (including marine and lagoon sediments, coastal seawater, and groundwater), and we compared two fingerprinting techniques (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism [T-RFLP] and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis [ARISA]) which are currently utilized for estimating richness and community composition. Bacterial diversity ranged from 27 to 99 phylotypes (on average, 56) using the T-RFLP approach and from 62 to 101 genotypes (on average, 81) when the same samples were analyzed using ARISA. The total diversity encountered in all matrices analyzed was 144 phylotypes for T-RFLP and 200 genotypes for ARISA. Although the two techniques provided similar results in the analysis of community structure, bacterial richness and diversity estimates were significantly higher using ARISA. These findings suggest that ARISA is more effective than T-RFLP in detecting the presence of bacterial taxa accounting for <5% of total amplified product. ARISA enabled also distinction among aquatic bacterial isolates of Pseudomonas spp. which were indistinguishable using T-RFLP analysis. Overall, the results of this study show that ARISA is more accurate than T-RFLP analysis on the 16S rRNA gene for estimating the biodiversity of aquatic bacterial assemblages.
PMCID: PMC1563681  PMID: 16957219
14.  BactQuant: An enhanced broad-coverage bacterial quantitative real-time PCR assay 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:56.
Bacterial load quantification is a critical component of bacterial community analysis, but a culture-independent method capable of detecting and quantifying diverse bacteria is needed. Based on our analysis of a diverse collection of 16 S rRNA gene sequences, we designed a broad-coverage quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) assay—BactQuant—for quantifying 16 S rRNA gene copy number and estimating bacterial load. We further utilized in silico evaluation to complement laboratory-based qPCR characterization to validate BactQuant.
The aligned core set of 4,938 16 S rRNA gene sequences in the Greengenes database were analyzed for assay design. Cloned plasmid standards were generated and quantified using a qPCR-based approach. Coverage analysis was performed computationally using >670,000 sequences and further evaluated following the Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments (MIQE) guidelines.
A bacterial TaqMan® qPCR assay targeting a 466 bp region in V3-V4 was designed. Coverage analysis showed that 91% of the phyla, 96% of the genera, and >80% of the 89,537 species analyzed contained at least one perfect sequence match to the BactQuant assay. Of the 106 bacterial species evaluated, amplification efficiencies ranged from 81 to 120%, with r2-value of >0.99, including species with sequence mismatches. Inter- and intra-run coefficient of variance was <3% and <16% for Ct and copy number, respectively.
The BactQuant assay offers significantly broader coverage than a previously reported universal bacterial quantification assay BactQuant in vitro performance was better than the in silico predictions.
PMCID: PMC3464140  PMID: 22510143
15.  Assessment of routine use of an anaerobic bottle in a three-component, high-volume blood culture system. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(10):2544-2547.
The relative value of routine anaerobic blood culture for recovery of organisms and identification of episodes of bloodstream infection was assessed in a three-component, high-volume blood culture system which employs aerobic and anaerobic bottles of BacT/Alert (Organon-Teknika, Durham, N.C.) and aerobic cultures of Isolator (Wampole Laboratories, Cranbury, N.J.). The results of 5,595 blood culture sets from patients with suspected bloodstream infection were analyzed. Compared with either the aerobic BacT/Alert bottle or aerobic culture of Isolator, the BacT/Alert anaerobic bottle recovered significantly fewer isolates (242 versus 294, P < 0.05; 242 versus 298, P < 0.05) but did not detect significantly fewer episodes of bloodstream infection (141 versus 157, P > 0.05; 141 versus 147, P > 0.05). The BacT/Alert anaerobic bottle recovered significantly more isolates of obligately anaerobic bacteria (16 versus 4, P < 0.05; 16 versus 0, P < 0.05) and detected significantly more episodes of bloodstream infection caused by obligately anaerobic bacteria (10 versus 3, P < 0.05; 10 versus 0, P < 0.05) than either the aerobic bottle of BacT/Alert or the aerobic culture of Isolator. The combination of the BacT/Alert anaerobic bottle and the aerobic culture of Isolator recovered as may isolates (374 versus 377) and detected as many episodes of bloodstream infection (194 versus 191) as the combination of the aerobic bottle of BacT/Alert and the aerobic culture of Isolator, and both of these combinations identified at least 8% more isolates and detected at least 3% more bloodstream infections than the combination of the BacT/Alert aerobic and anaerobic bottles. Further analysis of the data revealed that the utility of the BacT/Alert anaerobic bottle, especially when combined with the aerobic culture of Isolator, resulted from not only enhanced recovery of obligately anaerobic bacteria but also effective recovery of facultatively anaerobic bacteria. These results demonstrate the utility of the anaerobic BacT/Alert bottle for detecting bloodstream infection caused by either facultatively anaerobic bacteria or obligately anaerobic bacteria and support the routine inclusion of anaerobic blood culture in the three-component blood culture system used in our hospital.
PMCID: PMC229314  PMID: 8880517
16.  Comparison of MB/BacT ALERT 3D System with Radiometric BACTEC System and Löwenstein-Jensen Medium for Recovery and Identification of Mycobacteria from Clinical Specimens: a Multicenter Study 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2001;39(2):651-657.
The MB/BacT ALERT 3D System (MB/BacT) (Organon Teknika, Boxtel, The Netherlands) is a fully automated, nonradiometric system with a revised antibiotic supplement kit designed for the recovery of mycobacteria from clinical specimens. In a multicenter study, the recovery rate of acid-fast bacilli (AFB) and the mean time to their detection from clinical specimens was determined by using the MB/BacT system. Data were compared to those assessed by the radiometric BACTEC 460 system (B460) and by culture on Löwenstein-Jensen (L-J) solid medium. A total of 2,859 respiratory and extrapulmonary specimens were processed by the N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NALC)-NaOH method using two different concentrations of sodium hydroxide; 1.5% was adopted in study design A (1,766 specimens), and 1.0% was used in study design B (1,093 specimens). The contamination rates for MB/BacT were 4.6% (study design A) and 7.1% (study design B). One hundred seventy-nine mycobacterial isolates were detected by study design A, with 148 Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB) isolates and 31 nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) isolates. Overall recovery rates were 78.8% for MB/BacT (P = 0.0049), 64.2% for L-J (P < 0.0001), and 87.1% for B460, whereas they were 84.5, 70.9, and 91.2%, respectively, for MTB alone. A total of 125 mycobacteria were detected by study design B, with 46 MTB and 79 NTM. Overall recovery rates by the individual systems were 57.6% (P = 0.0002), 56.8% (P = 0.0001), and 80% for MB/BacT, L-J, and B460, respectively, whereas the rates were 91.3, 78.3, and 97.8% for MTB alone. By study design A, the mean times to detection of smear-positive MTB, smear-negative MTB, and NTM were 11.5, 19.9, and 19.6 days, respectively, with the MB/BacT; 8.3, 16.8, and 16.6 days, respectively, with the B460; and 20.6, 32.1, and 27.8 days, respectively, with L-J medium. By study design B, the mean times were 15.1, 26.7, and 26 days with the MB/BacT; 11.7, 21.3, and 24.8 days with the B460; and 20.4, 28.7, and 28.4 days with L-J medium. Identification was attempted by probing (Accuprobe) MB/BacT-positive bottles within the first working day following instrument positive flag. Results were compared to those obtained in the B460 positive vials by the p-nitro-α-acetylamino-β-hydroxypropiophenone (NAP) test (study design A) or by the Accuprobe assay (study design B). About 90% of MTB and 100% of NTM could be identified, showing turnaround times closely related to those obtained by combining B460 and the NAP test or the Accuprobe assay. In conclusion, even though recovery rates were shown to be lower than B460, especially for NTM, and contaminants were somewhat higher, MB/BacT represents a valuable alternative to the radiometric system, especially in those laboratories where disposal of radioactive waste is restricted. Finally, when AFB are cultured in nonradiometric liquid media, our data (detection times and bacterial overgrowth rates) suggest that decontamination with 1.5% NaOH may be more suitable than the standard NALC-NaOH.
PMCID: PMC87793  PMID: 11158124
17.  Genotypic and phenotypic diversity of Bacillus spp. isolated from steel plant waste 
BMC Research Notes  2008;1:92.
Molecular studies of Bacillus diversity in various environments have been reported. However, there have been few investigations concerning Bacillus in steel plant environments. In this study, genotypic and phenotypic diversity and phylogenetic relationships among 40 bacterial isolates recovered from steel plant waste were investigated using classical and molecular methods.
16S rDNA partial sequencing assigned all the isolates to the Bacillus genus, with close genetic relatedness to the Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus groups, and to the species Bacillus sphaericus. tDNA-intergenic spacer length polymorphisms and the 16S–23S intergenic transcribed spacer region failed to identify the isolates at the species level. Genomic diversity was investigated by molecular typing with rep (repetitive sequence) based PCR using the primer sets ERIC2 (enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus), (GTG)5, and BOXAIR. Genotypic fingerprinting of the isolates reflected high intraspecies and interspecies diversity. Clustering of the isolates using ERIC-PCR fingerprinting was similar to that obtained from the 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic tree, indicating the potential of the former technique as a simple and useful tool for examining relationships among unknown Bacillus spp. Physiological, biochemical and heavy metal susceptibility profiles also indicated considerable phenotypic diversity. Among the heavy metal compounds tested Zn, Pb and Cu were least toxic to the bacterial isolates, whereas Ag inhibited all isolates at 0.001 mM.
Isolates with identical 16S rRNA gene sequences had different genomic fingerprints and differed considerably in their physiological capabilities, so the high levels of phenotypic diversity found in this study are likely to have ecological relevance.
PMCID: PMC2588453  PMID: 18928552
18.  Evaluation of general 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR primers for classical and next-generation sequencing-based diversity studies 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(1):e1.
16S ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) amplicon analysis remains the standard approach for the cultivation-independent investigation of microbial diversity. The accuracy of these analyses depends strongly on the choice of primers. The overall coverage and phylum spectrum of 175 primers and 512 primer pairs were evaluated in silico with respect to the SILVA 16S/18S rDNA non-redundant reference dataset (SSURef 108 NR). Based on this evaluation a selection of ‘best available’ primer pairs for Bacteria and Archaea for three amplicon size classes (100–400, 400–1000, ≥1000 bp) is provided. The most promising bacterial primer pair (S-D-Bact-0341-b-S-17/S-D-Bact-0785-a-A-21), with an amplicon size of 464 bp, was experimentally evaluated by comparing the taxonomic distribution of the 16S rDNA amplicons with 16S rDNA fragments from directly sequenced metagenomes. The results of this study may be used as a guideline for selecting primer pairs with the best overall coverage and phylum spectrum for specific applications, therefore reducing the bias in PCR-based microbial diversity studies.
PMCID: PMC3592464  PMID: 22933715
19.  Use of Nucleic Acid Probes for Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Directly from MB/BacT Bottles 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(5):1602-1605.
The feasibility of using nucleic acid probes directly from positive MB/BacT broth to identify mycobacteria was determined in this study. A total number of 2,727 specimens were cultured into the MB/BacT (Organon Teknika) automated system and on conventional Loweinstein-Jensen (LJ) slants. The Gen-Probe AccuProbe culture identification tests (DNA probes) were used on samples from bottles which were identified as positive for mycobacteria by MB/BacT. Samples of positive MB/BacT broth (0.1 ml) were used directly in the broth culture method for the DNA probes as published by Gen-Probe. Centrifugation of the contents of the bottle was not done prior to probe testing. The number of mycobacteria detected by MB/BacT and LJ was 253 (221 isolates of M. tuberculosis and 32 isolates of mycobacteria other than M. tuberculosis [MOTT]). A total of 96.4% (213 of 221) of the bottles growing M. tuberculosis produced a positive direct DNA probe result for M. tuberculosis complex. One hundred percent (16 of 16) of the bottles growing M. gordonae produced a positive direct DNA probe result for M. gordonae. A total of 3.6% (8 of 221) of the bottles growing M. tuberculosis did not yield a positive direct DNA probe result for M. tuberculosis complex. The testing of subcultures made onto solid media from the positive bottles by AccuProbe identified six of these eight M. tuberculosis isolates. Two (0.9%) M. tuberculosis isolates gave a negative result for the M. tuberculosis probe test applied on the MB/BacT broth and its subculture. The rest of the positive MB/BacT bottles growing MOTT (16 of 32) were negative for M. gordonae, M. avium, M. intracellulare, and M. kansasii probes. The sensitivity and specificity of AccuProbe for the identification of M. tuberculosis and M. gordonae directly from MB/BacT broth were 96.4 and 100% for M. tuberculosis and 100 and 100% for M. gordonae, respectively. The direct testing of positive MB/BacT broth by AccuProbe, without prior centrifugation, allows for the accurate and rapid identification of M. tuberculosis and M. gordonae.
PMCID: PMC84847  PMID: 10203535
20.  Evaluation of Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis for Bacterial Fingerprinting of Rumen Microbiome Compared to Pyrosequencing Technology 
Pathogens  2014;3(1):109-120.
The mammalian gut houses a complex microbial community which is believed to play a significant role in host physiology. In recent years, several microbial community analysis methods have been implemented to study the whole gut microbial environment, in contrast to classical microbiological methods focusing on bacteria which can be cultivated. One of these is automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA), an inexpensive and popular way of analyzing bacterial diversity and community fingerprinting in ecological samples. ARISA uses the natural variability in length of the DNA fragment found between the 16S and 23S genes in different bacterial lineages to infer diversity. This method is now being supplanted by affordable next-generation sequencing technologies that can also simultaneously annotate operational taxonomic units for taxonomic identification. We compared ARISA and pyrosequencing of samples from the rumen microbiome of cows, previously sampled at different stages of development and varying in microbial complexity using several ecological parameters. We revealed close agreement between ARISA and pyrosequencing outputs, especially in their ability to discriminate samples from different ecological niches. In contrast, the ARISA method seemed to underestimate sample richness. The good performance of the relatively inexpensive ARISA makes it relevant for straightforward use in bacterial fingerprinting analysis as well as for quick cross-validation of pyrosequencing data.
PMCID: PMC4235728  PMID: 25437610
ARISA; pyrosequencing; rumen microbiome
21.  Typing of rhizobia by PCR DNA fingerprinting and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of chromosomal and symbiotic gene regions: application to Rhizobium leguminosarum and its different biovars. 
Characterization of 43 strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovars viciae, trifolii, and phaseoli was performed by two methodologies based on PCR amplification, i.e., PCR DNA fingerprinting of interrepeat sequences and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis of PCR -amplified chromosomal and symbiotic gene regions. Groupings generated by PCR DNA fingerprinting with either extragenic palindromic repetitive primers or two different single random primers were correlated with similar levels of resolution. Although less discriminating, PCR-RFLP analysis of intergenic spacer between genes coding for 16S and 23S rRNA (16S and 23S rDNA) yielded intraspecific polymorphisms. The classification of strains was independent of the biovar status and was in agreement with those obtained by PCR DNA fingerprinting. Intrabiovar variation within symbiotic gene regions was detected by PCR-RFLP analysis of nifDK and nodD gene regions, but the strains were grouped according to the biovar. The rDNA intergenic spacer and nif primers were verified to be universal for rhizobial species by testing of various reference strains, whereas the nod primers designed in this study were biovar or species specific for R. leguminosarum and Rhizobium etli. Classifications of R. leguminosarum strains by the PCR-based methods were correlated with those previously obtained by conventional total DNA restriction profile comparisons and RFLP analysis using chromosomal and symbiotic gene probes. Ranges of discriminating powers were also equivalent between the two approaches. However, the PCR-based methods are much less time-consuming and are therefore more convenient.
PMCID: PMC167981  PMID: 8787401
22.  Richness and Diversity of Bacterioplankton Species along an Estuarine Gradient in Moreton Bay, Australia 
Bacterioplankton community diversity was investigated in the subtropical Brisbane River-Moreton Bay estuary, Australia (27°25′S, 153°5′E). Bacterial communities were studied using automated rRNA intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA), which amplifies 16S-23S ribosomal DNA internally transcribed spacer regions from mixed-community DNA and detects the separated products on a fragment analyzer. Samples were collected from eight sites throughout the estuary and east to the East Australian Current (Coral Sea). Bacterioplankton communities had the highest operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness, as measured by ARISA at eastern bay stations (S [total richness] = 84 to 85 OTU) and the lowest richness in the Coral Sea (S = 39 to 59 OTU). Richness correlated positively with bacterial abundance; however, there were no strong correlations between diversity and salinity, NO3− and PO43− concentrations, or chlorophyll a concentration. Bacterioplankton communities at the riverine stations were different from communities in the bay or Coral Sea. The main differences in OTU richness between stations were in taxa that each represented 0.1% (the detection limit) to 0.5% of the total amplified DNA, i.e., the “tail” of the distribution. We found that some bacterioplankton taxa are specific to distinct environments while others have a ubiquitous distribution from river to sea. Bacterioplankton richness and diversity patterns in the estuary are potentially a consequence of greater niche availability, mixing of local and adjacent environment communities, or intermediate disturbance. Furthermore, these results contrast with previous reports of spatially homogeneous bacterioplankton communities in other coastal waters.
PMCID: PMC427769  PMID: 15184140
23.  Blocking primers to enhance PCR amplification of rare sequences in mixed samples – a case study on prey DNA in Antarctic krill stomachs 
Frontiers in Zoology  2008;5:12.
Identification of DNA sequence diversity is a powerful means for assessing the species present in environmental samples. The most common molecular strategies for estimating taxonomic composition depend upon PCR with universal primers that amplify an orthologous DNA region from a range of species. The diversity of sequences within a sample that can be detected by universal primers is often compromised by high concentrations of some DNA templates. If the DNA within the sample contains a small number of sequences in relatively high concentrations, then less concentrated sequences are often not amplified because the PCR favours the dominant DNA types. This is a particular problem in molecular diet studies, where predator DNA is often present in great excess of food-derived DNA.
We have developed a strategy where a universal PCR simultaneously amplifies DNA from food items present in DNA purified from stomach samples, while the predator's own DNA is blocked from amplification by the addition of a modified predator-specific blocking primer. Three different types of modified primers were tested out; one annealing inhibiting primer overlapping with the 3' end of one of the universal primers, another annealing inhibiting primer also having an internal modification of five dI molecules making it a dual priming oligo, and a third elongation arrest primer located between the two universal primers. All blocking primers were modified with a C3 spacer. In artificial PCR mixtures, annealing inhibiting primers proved to be the most efficient ones and this method reduced predator amplicons to undetectable levels even when predator template was present in 1000 fold excess of the prey template. The prey template then showed strong PCR amplification where none was detectable without the addition of blocking primer. Our method was applied to identifying the winter food of one of the most abundant animals in the world, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba. Dietary item DNA was PCR amplified from a range of species in krill stomachs for which we had no prior sequence knowledge.
We present a simple, robust and cheap method that is easily adaptable to many situations where a rare DNA template is to be PCR amplified in the presence of a higher concentration template with identical PCR primer binding sites.
PMCID: PMC2517594  PMID: 18638418
24.  Species-Specific PCR for Identification of Common Contaminant Mollicutes in Cell Culture 
Mycoplasma arginini, M. fermentans, M. hyorhinis, M. orale, and Acholeplasma laidlawii are the members of the class Mollicutes most commonly found in contaminated cell cultures. Previous studies have shown that the published PCR primer pairs designed to detect mollicutes in cell cultures are not entirely specific. The 16S rRNA gene, the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer region, and the 5′ end of the 23S rRNA gene, as a whole, are promising targets for design of mollicute species-specific primer pairs. We analyzed the 16S rRNA genes, the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer regions, and the 5′ end of the 23S rRNA genes of these mollicutes and developed PCR methods for species identification based on these regions. Using high melting temperatures, we developed a rapid-cycle PCR for detection and identification of contaminant mollicutes. Previously published, putative mollicute-specific primers amplified DNA from 73 contaminated cell lines, but the presence of mollicutes was confirmed by species-specific PCR in only 60. Sequences of the remaining 13 amplicons were identified as those of gram-positive bacterial species. Species-specific PCR primers are needed to confirm the presence of mollicutes in specimens and for identification, if required.
PMCID: PMC93000  PMID: 11425741
25.  BatchPrimer3: A high throughput web application for PCR and sequencing primer design 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:253.
Microsatellite (simple sequence repeat – SSR) and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers are two types of important genetic markers useful in genetic mapping and genotyping. Often, large-scale genomic research projects require high-throughput computer-assisted primer design. Numerous such web-based or standard-alone programs for PCR primer design are available but vary in quality and functionality. In particular, most programs lack batch primer design capability. Such a high-throughput software tool for designing SSR flanking primers and SNP genotyping primers is increasingly demanded.
A new web primer design program, BatchPrimer3, is developed based on Primer3. BatchPrimer3 adopted the Primer3 core program as a major primer design engine to choose the best primer pairs. A new score-based primer picking module is incorporated into BatchPrimer3 and used to pick position-restricted primers. BatchPrimer3 v1.0 implements several types of primer designs including generic primers, SSR primers together with SSR detection, and SNP genotyping primers (including single-base extension primers, allele-specific primers, and tetra-primers for tetra-primer ARMS PCR), as well as DNA sequencing primers. DNA sequences in FASTA format can be batch read into the program. The basic information of input sequences, as a reference of parameter setting of primer design, can be obtained by pre-analysis of sequences. The input sequences can be pre-processed and masked to exclude and/or include specific regions, or set targets for different primer design purposes as in Primer3Web and primer3Plus. A tab-delimited or Excel-formatted primer output also greatly facilitates the subsequent primer-ordering process. Thousands of primers, including wheat conserved intron-flanking primers, wheat genome-specific SNP genotyping primers, and Brachypodium SSR flanking primers in several genome projects have been designed using the program and validated in several laboratories.
BatchPrimer3 is a comprehensive web primer design program to develop different types of primers in a high-throughput manner. Additional methods of primer design can be easily integrated into future versions of BatchPrimer3. The program with source code and thousands of PCR and sequencing primers designed for wheat and Brachypodium are accessible at .
PMCID: PMC2438325  PMID: 18510760

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