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J Clin Microbiol. Feb 1996; 34(2): 376–384.
PMCID: PMC228801

Rapid characterization of periodontal bacterial isolates by using fluorogenic substrate tests.


Eighty-nine species of subgingival bacteria, represented by 121 reference strains and 892 patient isolates, including gram-negative, gram-positive, aerobic, facultatively anaerobic, microaerophilic, and anaerobic species, were characterized with a panel of fluorogenic, 4-methylumbelliferyl-linked substrate tests. Identifications of all patient isolates were confirmed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole-cell proteins relative to reference strains. Characteristic profiles of positive fluorogenic reactions differentiated most of the species, including five Porphyromonas species, six pigmenting and five nonpigmenting Prevotella species, Bacteroides forsythus, three Capnocytophaga species, six Actinomyces species, four Propionibacterium species, and eight Streptococcus species. Two mannoside isomers differentiated Actinomyces israelii and Actinomyces gerencseriae. In addition to Porphyromonas gingivalis, B. forsythus, and Capnocytophaga species, Fusobacterium alocis, Actinomyces odontolyticus, Actinomyces meyeri, and Bifidobacterium dentium were all positive for so-called trypsin-like activity. Fusobacterium nucleatum, Eikenella corrodens, Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans, and Campylobacter species were nonreactive with the carbohydrate-based substrates tested. Fluorogenic substrate tests provided a sensitive and simple method for biochemical characterization that could presumptively identify to species level most subgingival isolates within 4 h. The method was ideal for rapidly obtaining presumptive identifications of isolates prior to confirming identifications by definitive methods, such as SDS-PAGE.

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Selected References

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