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Water Res. 2001 Mar;35(4):869-74.

A sensitive seminested PCR method for the detection of Shigella in spiked environmental water samples.

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.


A rapid seminested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for the specific, sensitive detection of virulent Shigella spp. in spiked environmental water samples was developed. A set of primers specific for the invasion plasmid antigen gene (ipaH) of virulent Shigella spp. and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli produced a 620-bp fragment that was used as template for the seminested primer pair delineating a 401-bp fragment. By using agarose gel electrophoresis for detection of the seminested PCR-amplified products, a detection limit of 1.6 x 10(3) cfu S. flexneri was obtained with amplification reactions from crude bacterial lysates. The PCR procedure coupled with an enrichment culture incubated for 6 h detected as few as 1.6 S. flexneri organisms in pure culture. Treated sewage, ground, surface and drinking water samples collected from various sources were seeded with S. flexneri and incubated in GN broth for 6 h before detection by seminested PCR. A detection limit lower than 14 cfu/ml was achieved in some water samples. The results indicate that the described seminested PCR has the advantage of a rapid turnaround time and it fulfills the requirements of sensitivity and specificity for use in an environmental laboratory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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