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J Microbiol Methods. 2006 Jan;64(1):1-8. Epub 2005 Jun 1.

Discrimination of viable Vibrio vulnificus cells from dead cells in real-time PCR.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Ethidium bromide monoazide (EMA) was utilized to selectively allow the real-time PCR (RT-PCR) amplification of a targeted DNA sequence in viable but not dead cells of Vibrio vulnificus. The optimized light exposure time to achieve cross-linking of DNA by the EMA in dead cells and to photolyse the free EMA in solution was at least 15 min. The use of 3.0 microg/ml or less of EMA did not inhibit the PCR amplification of DNA derived from viable cells of V. vulnificus. The minimum amount of EMA to completely inhibit the RT-PCR amplification of DNA derived from heat-killed cells was 2.5 microg/ml. Amplification of DNA from dead cells in a mixture with viable cells was successfully inhibited by 2.5 microg/ml of EMA, whereas the DNA from viable cells present was successfully amplified by RT-PCR.

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