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J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Jun;40(6):2182-6.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization with peptide nucleic acid probes for rapid identification of Candida albicans directly from blood culture bottles.

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Applied Biosystems, Bedford, Massachusetts 01730, USA.


A new fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) method that uses peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes for identification of Candida albicans directly from positive-blood-culture bottles in which yeast was observed by Gram staining (herein referred to as yeast-positive blood culture bottles) is described. The test (the C. albicans PNA FISH method) is based on a fluorescein-labeled PNA probe that targets C. albicans 26S rRNA. The PNA probe is added to smears made directly from the contents of the blood culture bottle and hybridized for 90 min at 55 degrees C. Unhybridized PNA probe is removed by washing of the mixture (30 min), and the smears are examined by fluorescence microscopy. The specificity of the method was confirmed with 23 reference strains representing phylogenetically related yeast species and 148 clinical isolates covering the clinically most significant yeast species, including C. albicans (n = 72), C. dubliniensis (n = 58), C. glabrata (n = 5), C. krusei (n = 2), C. parapsilosis (n = 4), and C. tropicalis (n = 3). The performance of the C. albicans PNA FISH method as a diagnostic test was evaluated with 33 routine and 25 simulated yeast-positive blood culture bottles and showed 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. It is concluded that this 2.5-h method for the definitive identification of C. albicans directly from yeast-positive blood culture bottles provides important information for optimal antifungal therapy and patient management.

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