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Journal: Journal of microbiological methods


Serotyping of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) has been contingent upon the availability of antisera. Here we describe a 7-plex microbead-based immunoassay to simultaneously serotype seven STEC (i.e., belonging to serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, O145, and O157) by the Luminex xMAP® technology. This technology presents many advantages: Its multiplexed format (up to 100 analytes) saves time, reagents, and test sample, and many regulatory agencies currently utilize this platform for other assays. In this study, a total of seventy-nine STEC strains belonging to the 7 different serogroups of interest were tested. These strains had been previously serotyped and their serogroup confirmed by PCR. Except for one strain belonging to the O111 serogroup, nearly all strains (i.e., 98.7%; 78/79) were correctly identified on the Bio-Plex 100 instrument in less than 4 h. This newly developed microbead-based immunoassay could be extended to include other STEC serogroups, virulence factors, and/or bacterial species.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Serotype, Scientific classification


β-Galactosidase encoded by lacZ remains a popular reporter enzyme. Here, we present three fast and convenient tools that facilitate rapid construction of reporter lacZ fusions. The first enables the simple generation of lacZ (slacZ)-based chromosomally encoded reporter fusions within the lac operon in Escherichia coli using Red®/ET® recombination. The slacZ tool is based on rpsL counter-selection in combination with homologous recombination catalyzed by the λ Red recombinase, and blue/white screening. This permits construction of transcriptional and translational reporter lacZ fusions within a day. The second tool allows the introduction of lacZ reporter fusions into the chromosome by a single-crossover method. The strategy relies on the γ-origin-based suicide vector pNPTS138-R6KT, which can only replicate in λpir E. coli strains. The third tool comprises four pBBR1-based broad-host-range vectors for transcriptional and translational lacZ fusions. The functionality of our toolbox was confirmed by the K(+)-dependent activation of kdp promoter-lacZ fusions in vivo.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Bacteria, Recombinant DNA, Escherichia coli, Lac operon, Operon, Jacques Monod


Onions (Allium cepa L.) are plagued by a number of bacterial pathogens including Pantoea ananatis, P. agglomerans, Burkholderia cepacia, Enterobacter cloacae, Pectobacterium carotovorum subsp. carotovorum, Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. axonopodis and several Pseudomonas spp. We developed a semi-selective medium, termed onion extract medium (OEM), to selectively and rapidly isolate bacteria pathogenic to and associated with onions and onion-related samples including bulbs, seeds, sets, transplant seedlings, soil and water. Most strains of interest grow sufficiently on OEM in 24h at 28°C for tentative identification based on colony morphology, facilitating further characterization by microbiological and/or molecular means.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pathogen, Garlic, Allium, Onion, Bulb, Shallot


Here we determine an optimal technique for the visualization of extracellular DNA in bacterial biofilms using the fluorescent eDNA stain TOTO-1 and the counterstain SYTO 60. This technique allows for more sensitive eDNA visualization than other fluorescent staining methods currently in use.

Concepts: Staining, Stain, Counterstain


Rapid, low-cost, and user-friendly strategies are urgently needed for early disease diagnosis and timely treatment, particularly for on-site screening of pathogens in aquaculture. In this study, we successfully developed a real-time fluorogenic loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay integrated on a microfluidic disc chip (on-chip LAMP), which was capable of simultaneously detecting 10 pathogenic bacteria in aquatic animals, i.e., Nocardia seriolae, Pseudomonas putida, Streptococcus iniae, Vibrio alginolyticus, Vibrio anguillarum, Vibrio fluvialis, Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio rotiferianus, and Vibrio vulnificus. The assay provided a nearly-automated approach, with only a single pipetting step per chip for sample dispensing. This technique could achieve limits of detection (LOD) ranging from 0.40 to 6.42 pg per 1.414 μL reaction in less than 30 minutes. The robust reproducibility was demonstrated by little variation among duplications for each bacterium with the coefficient of variation (CV) for time to positive (Tp) value less than 0.10. The clinical sensitivity and specificity of this on-chip LAMP assay in detecting field samples was 96.2% and 93.8% by comparison with conventional microbiological methods. Compared with other well-known techniques, on-chip LAMP assay provides low sample and reagent consumption, ease-of-use, accelerated analysis, multiple bacteria and on-site detection, and high reproducibility, indicating that such a technique would be applicable for on-site detection and routine monitoring of multiple pathogens in aquaculture.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Positive predictive value, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Pathogen, Vibrio, Vibrionales


Listeria monocytogenes 15G01, a strain belonging to the persistent pulsotype 5132, was isolated from a seafood processing plant in New Zealand. Simple monoculture assays using crystal violet staining showed good biofilm formation for this strain and it was therefore chosen to be further investigated in regard to its biofilm forming ability. To evaluate its behaviour in different conditions commonly encountered in food processing environments, biofilm assays and growth studies were performed using common laboratory media under a range of temperatures (20°C, 30°C and 37°C). Furthermore, the effects of incubation time and different environmental conditions including static, dynamic and anaerobic incubation on biofilm formation were investigated. Changes in the environmental conditions resulted in different biofilm phenotype of L. monocytogenes 15G01. We demonstrated that increasing temperature and incubation time led to a higher biofilm mass and that dynamic incubation has little effect on biofilm formation at 37°C but encourages biofilm formation at 30°C. Biofilm production at 20°C was minimal regardless of the medium used. We furthermore observed that anaerobic environment led to reduced biofilm mass at 30°C for all tested media but not at 37°C. Biofilm formation could not be narrowed down to one factor but was rather dependent on multiple factors with temperature and medium having the biggest effects.

Concepts: Microbiology, Environment, Natural environment, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria, Listeriosis, Environmental science, Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister


This study analyzed the RYP1 gene as a target for the molecular diagnosis of histoplasmosis. This assay detected fungal DNA in 13/13 blood samples from HIV/AIDS-patients with histoplasmosis. Therefore, the detection of RYP1 gene in whole blood sample is a quick and sensitive test to diagnose histoplasmosis.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Bacteria, Evolution, Molecular biology, Biology


Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria with two distinct morphological stages, the infectious elementary bodies (EBs) and non-infectious reticulate bodies (RBs). Here we describe a rapid and straightforward protocol for the purification of EBs and RBs involving special density gradients. It has been successfully applied to three chlamydial species.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gradient, Chlamydia


A novel multiplex real-time PCR was designed to detect the clinically most important carbapenemase genes, blaKPC, blaVIM, blaNDM and blaOXA-48. The multiplex assay was verified testing genomic DNA of 24 carbapenemase-producing strains. It was validated using a blinded panel of 82 carbapenemase-producing and 50 non-producing isolates by direct colony PCR.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Genome, Laboratory techniques


Metagenomic sequencing of bacterial samples has become the gold standard for profiling microbial populations, but 16S rRNA profiling remains widely used due to advantages in sample throughput, cost, and sensitivity even though the approach is hampered by primer bias and lack of specificity. We hypothesized that a hybrid approach, that combined targeted PCR amplification with high-throughput sequencing of multiple regions of the genome, would capture many of the advantages of both approaches. We developed a method that identifies and quantifies members of bacterial communities through simultaneous analysis of multiple variable regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. The method combines high-throughput microfluidics for PCR amplification, short read DNA sequencing, and a custom algorithm named MVRSION (Multiple 16S Variable Region Species-Level IdentificatiON) for optimizing taxonomic assignment. MVRSION performance was compared to single variable region analyses (V3 or V4) of five synthetic mixtures of human gut bacterial strains using existing software (QIIME), and the results of community profiling by shotgun sequencing (COPRO-Seq) of fecal DNA samples collected from gnotobiotic mice colonized with a defined, phylogenetically diverse consortium of human gut bacterial strains. Positive predictive values for MVSION ranged from 65%-91% versus 44%-61% for single region QIIME analyses (p < .01, p < .001), while the abundance estimate r2 for MVRSION compared to COPRO-Seq was 0.77 vs. 0.46 and 0.45 for V3-QIIME and V4-QIIME, respectively. MVRSION represents a generally applicable tool for taxonomic classification that is superior to single-region 16S rRNA methods, resource efficient, highly scalable for assessing the microbial composition of up to thousands of samples concurrently, with multiple applications ranging from whole community profiling to targeted tracking of organisms of interest in diverse habitats as a function of specified variables/perturbations.