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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2012 Jan;24(1):7-13. doi: 10.1177/1040638711425936. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Discrimination between Mycoplasma and Acholeplasma species of bovine origin using digitonin disc diffusion assay, nisin disc diffusion assay, and conventional polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.


Microbiological culture of milk samples has been used as a standard diagnosis for Mycoplasma mastitis. This technique is effective in isolating mollicutes that are Mycoplasma-like; however, isolates may be misinterpreted as Acholeplasma species, which are indistinguishable from Mycoplasma species by culture. A study to contrast the abilities of 2 culture-based tests, digitonin and nisin disc diffusion assays and a conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, to discriminate between Mycoplasma and Acholeplasma was performed using 16S ribosomal RNA gene partial sequencing as the gold standard of comparison. A total of 288 bovine mollicute field isolates (248 from milk and 40 from other organ sites) and 13 reference strains were tested. Results obtained from the digitonin disc diffusion assay when it was performed with all field isolates were 92.7% and 99.0% in agreement with the gold standard using 5 mm and 3 mm of zone of growth inhibition as thresholds, respectively. Considering only milk isolates, agreements between the digitonin disc diffusion assay with the gold standard were 97.2% and 100% using 5 mm and 3 mm of zone of growth inhibition as thresholds, respectively. Culture identification using the nisin disc diffusion assay and the PCR was in a 100% agreement with the gold standard. Comparable results using culture-based nisin and digitonin disc diffusion assays, and PCR, to distinguish Mycoplasma and Acholeplasma species was found, especially for isolates from bovine milk.

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