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1.  Real-Time PCR Detection of Phaeomoniella chlamydospora and Phaeoacremonium aleophilum 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(11):3985-3991.
Phaeomoniella chlamydospora and Phaeoacremonium aleophilum are the two main fungal causal agents of Petri disease and esca. Both diseases cause significant economic losses to viticulturalists. Since no curative control measures are known, proactive defensive measures must be taken. An important aspect of current research is the development of sensitive and time-saving protocols for the detection and identification of these pathogens. Real-time PCR based on the amplification of specific sequences is now being used for the identification and quantification of many infective agents. The present work reports real-time PCR protocols for identification of P. chlamydospora and P. aleophilum. Specificity was demonstrated against purified DNA from 60 P. chlamydospora isolates or 61 P. aleophilum isolates, and no amplification was obtained with 54 nontarget DNAs. The limits of detection (i.e., DNA detectable in 95% of reactions) were around 100 fg for P. chlamydospora and 50 fg for P. aleophilum. Detection was specific and sensitive for P. chlamydospora and P. aleophilum. Spores of P. chlamydospora and P. aleophilum were detected without the need for DNA purification. The established protocols detected these fungi in wood samples after DNA purification. P. chlamydospora was detectable without DNA purification and isolation in 67% of reactions. The detection of these pathogens in wood samples has great potential for use in pathogen-free certification schemes.
doi:10.1128/AEM.07360-11
PMCID: PMC3346403  PMID: 22447605
2.  Mycoplasma agalactiae p40 Gene, a Novel Marker for Diagnosis of Contagious Agalactia in Sheep by Real-Time PCR: Assessment of Analytical Performance and In-House Validation Using Naturally Contaminated Milk Samples▿ † 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;47(2):445-450.
We evaluated the capacity of the Mycoplasma agalactiae p40 gene as a diagnostic marker for contagious agalactia in sheep by quantitative real-time PCR. The p40 gene encodes an immunodominant adhesin that plays a key role in cytoadhesion of M. agalactiae. The assay was 100% specific, with an analytical sensitivity of 1 genome equivalent (GE), a quantification that is highly linear (R2 > 0.992) and efficient (PCR efficiency, >0.992) over a 6-log dynamic range, down to 10 GE. We evaluated the capacity of the assay to detect Mycoplasma agalactiae in 797 milk samples (373 raw sheep milk samples from refrigerated tanks of different farms and 424 milk samples from individual sheep of a flock positive for M. agalactiae). In parallel, we also tested the samples by using microbiological isolation coupled with microscopy identification and by a PCR method recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health. While our assay was able to detect 57 (15.28%) positive samples of the 373 milk samples from different farms, identification by microbiological isolation coupled with microscopy detected only 36 (9.65%) samples, and the conventional PCR detected 31 (8.31%) samples. These findings showed that our assay based on the p40 gene is more specific and sensitive for the detection of M. agalactiae in actual natural samples and, thus, can be a promising alternative tool for diagnosis and epidemiological studies of M. agalactiae infection.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01442-08
PMCID: PMC2643663  PMID: 19020058
3.  Quantitative Detection of Clostridium tyrobutyricum in Milk by Real-Time PCR▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(11):3747-3751.
We developed a real-time PCR assay for the quantitative detection of Clostridium tyrobutyricum, which has been identified as the major causal agent of late blowing in cheese. The assay was 100% specific, with an analytical sensitivity of 1 genome equivalent in 40% of the reactions. The quantification was linear (R2 > 0.9995) over a 5-log dynamic range, down to 10 genome equivalents, with a PCR efficiency of >0.946. With optimized detergent treatment and enzymatic pretreatment of the sample before centrifugation and nucleic acid extraction, the assay counted down to 300 C. tyrobutyricum spores, with a relative accuracy of 82.98 to 107.68, and detected as few as 25 spores in 25 ml of artificially contaminated raw or ultrahigh-temperature-treated whole milk.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02642-06
PMCID: PMC1932699  PMID: 17449705

Results 1-3 (3)