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1.  Comparison of the sensitivity of culture, PCR and quantitative real-time PCR for the detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in sputum of cystic fibrosis patients 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:244.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the major pathogen involved in the decline of lung function in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Early aggressive antibiotic therapy has been shown to be effective in preventing chronic colonization. Therefore, early detection is important and sensitive detection methods are warranted. In this study, we used a dilution series of P. aeruginosa positive sputa, diluted in a pool of P. aeruginosa negative sputa, all from CF patients - to mimick as closely as possible the sputa sent to routine laboratories - to compare the sensitivity of three culture techniques versus that of two conventional PCR formats and four real-time PCR formats, each targeting the P. aeruginosa oprL gene. In addition, we compared five DNA-extraction protocols.
In our hands, all three culture methods and the bioMérieux easyMAG Nuclisens protocol Generic 2.0.1, preceded by proteinase K pretreatment and followed by any of the 3 real-time PCR formats with probes were most sensitive and able to detect P. aeruginosa up to 50 cfu/ml, i.e. the theoretical minimum of one cell per PCR mixture, when taking into account the volumes used in this study of sample for DNA-extraction, of DNA-elution and of DNA-extract in the PCR mixture.
In this study, no difference in sensitivity could be found for the detection of P. aeruginosa from sputum between microbiological culture and optimized DNA-extraction and real-time PCR. The results also indicate the importance of the optimization of the DNA-extraction protocol and the PCR format.
PMCID: PMC2789735  PMID: 19943966
2.  An interlaboratory comparison of ITS2-PCR for the identification of yeasts, using the ABI Prism 310 and CEQ8000 capillary electrophoresis systems 
BMC Microbiology  2005;5:14.
Currently, most laboratories identify yeasts routinely on the basis of morphology and biochemical reactivity. This approach has quite often limited discriminatory power and may require long incubation periods. Due to the increase of fungal infections and due to specific antifungal resistence patterns for different species, accurate and rapid identification has become more important. Several molecular techniques have been described for fast and reliable identification of yeast isolates, but interlaboratory exchangeability of identification schemes of molecular techniques has hardly been studied. Here, we compared amplified ITS2 fragment length determination by an ABI Prism 310 (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, Ca.) capillary electrophoresis system with that obtained by a CEQ8000 (Beckman Coulter, Fullerton, Ca.) capillary electrophoresis system.
Although ITS2 size estimations on both systems differed and separate libraries had to be constructed for each system, both approaches had the same discriminatory power with regard to the 44 reference strains, identical identifications were obtained for 39/ 40 clinical isolates in both laboratories and strains from 51 samples were correctly identified using CEQ8000, when compared to phenotypic identification.
Identification of yeasts with ITS2-PCR followed by fragment analysis can be carried out on different capillary electrophoresis systems with comparable discriminatory power.
PMCID: PMC1082908  PMID: 15774019
3.  Extended-Spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing Enterobacter aerogenes phenotypically misidentified as Klebsiella pneumoniae or K. terrigena 
BMC Microbiology  2004;4:49.
Enterobacter aerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae are common isolates in clinical microbiology and important as producers of extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL). The discrimination between both species, which is routinely based on biochemical characteristics, is generally accepted to be straightforward. Here we report that genotypically unrelated strains of E. aerogenes can be misidentified as K. pneumoniae by routine laboratories using standard biochemical identification and using identification automates.
Ten clinical isolates, identified as K. pneumoniae or K. terrigena with the routinely used biochemical tests and with API-20E, were identified as E. aerogenes by tDNA-PCR – an identification that was confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing for five of these isolates. Misidentification also occurred when using the automated identification systems Vitek 2 and Phoenix, and was due to delayed positivity for ornithine decarboxylase and motility. Subculture and prolonged incubation resulted in positive results for ornithine decarboxylase and for motility. It could be shown by RAPD-analysis that the E. aerogenes strains belonged to different genotypes.
Clinical E. aerogenes isolates can be easily misidentified as Klebsiella due to delayed positivity for ornithine decarboxylase and motility. The phenomenon may be widespread, since it was shown to occur among genotypically unrelated strains from different hospitals and different isolation dates. A useful clue for correct identification is the presence of an inducible β-lactamase, which is highly unusual for K. pneumoniae. In several instances, the use of genotypic techniques like tDNA-PCR may circumvent problems of phenotypic identification.
PMCID: PMC544577  PMID: 15619329
4.  Identification of cultured isolates of clinically important yeast species using fluorescent fragment length analysis of the amplified internally transcribed rRNA spacer 2 region 
BMC Microbiology  2002;2:21.
The number of patients with yeast infection has increased during the last years. Also the variety of species of clinical importance has increased. Correct species identification is often important for efficient therapy, but is currently mostly based on phenotypic features and is sometimes time-consuming and depends largely on the expertise of technicians. Therefore, we evaluated the feasibility of PCR-based amplification of the internally transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS2), followed by fragment size analysis on the ABI Prism 310 for the identification of clinically important yeasts.
A rapid DNA-extraction method, based on simple boiling-freezing was introduced. Of the 26 species tested, 22 could be identified unambiguously by scoring the length of the ITS2-region. No distinction could be made between the species Trichosporon asteroides and T. inkin or between T. mucoides and T. ovoides. The two varieties of Cryptococcus neoformans (var. neoformans and var. gattii) could be differentiated from each other due to a one bp length difference of the ITS2 fragment. The three Cryptococcus laurentii isolates were split into two groups according to their ITS2-fragment lengths, in correspondence with the phylogenetic groups described previously. Since the obtained fragment lengths compare well to those described previously and could be exchanged between two laboratories, an internationally usable library of ITS2 fragment lengths can be constructed.
The existing ITS2 size based library enables identification of most of the clinically important yeast species within 6 hours starting from a single colony and can be easily updated when new species are described. Data can be exchanged between laboratories.
PMCID: PMC117793  PMID: 12139769
5.  Evaluation of amplified rDNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) for the identification of cultured mycobacteria in a diagnostic laboratory 
BMC Microbiology  2002;2:4.
The development of DNA amplification for the direct detection of M. tuberculosis from clinical samples has been a major goal of clinical microbiology during the last ten years. However, the limited sensitivity of most DNA amplification techniques restricts their use to smear positive samples. On the other hand, the development of automated liquid culture has increased the speed and sensitivity of cultivation of mycobacteria. We have opted to combine automated culture with rapid genotypic identification (ARDRA: amplified rDNA restriction analysis) for the detection resp. identification of all mycobacterial species at once, instead of attempting direct PCR based detection from clinical samples of M. tuberculosis only.
During 1998–2000 a total of approx. 3500 clinical samples was screened for the presence of M. tuberculosis. Of the 151 culture positive samples, 61 were M. tuberculosis culture positive. Of the 30 smear positive samples, 26 were M. tuberculosis positive. All but three of these 151 mycobacterial isolates could be identified with ARDRA within on average 36 hours. The three isolates that could not be identified belonged to rare species not yet included in our ARDRA fingerprint library or were isolates with an aberrant pattern.
In our hands, automated culture in combination with ARDRA provides with accurate, practically applicable, wide range identification of mycobacterial species. The existing identification library covers most species, and can be easily updated when new species are studied or described. The drawback is that ARDRA is culture-dependent, since automated culture of M. tuberculosis takes on average 16.7 days (range 6 to 29 days). However, culture is needed after all to assess the antibiotic susceptibility of the strains.
PMCID: PMC101405  PMID: 11945178

Results 1-5 (5)