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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2006 Dec;43(6):583-90.

Diagnosis of American foulbrood in honey bees: a synthesis and proposed analytical protocols.

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  • 1Laboratory of Zoophysiolgy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. dirk.degraaf@ugent.be


Worldwide, American foulbrood (AFB) is the most devastating bacterial disease of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Because the distinction between AFB and powdery scale disease is no longer considered valid, the pathogenic agent has recently been reclassified as one species Paenibacillus larvae, eliminating the subspecies designations Paenibacillus larvae subsp. larvae and Paenibacillus larvae subsp. pulvifaciens. The creamy or dark brown, glue-like larval remains of infected larvae continue to provide the most obvious clinical symptom of AFB, although it is not conclusive. Several sensitive and selective culture media are available for isolation of this spore-forming bacterium, with the type of samples that may be utilized for detection of the organism being further expanded. PCR methods for identification and genotyping of the pathogen have now been extensively developed. Nevertheless, biochemical profiling, bacteriophage sensitivity, immunotechniques and microscopy of suspect bacterial strains are entirely adequate for routine identification purposes.

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