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Vet Microbiol. 2002 Oct 2;89(1):17-28.

A reverse transcription-PCR assay to detect viable Mycoplasma synoviae in poultry environmental samples.

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Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherches Avicoles et Porcines, Unité de Mycoplasmologie Bactériologie, PO Box 53, F 22440, Ploufragan, France.


In order to study horizontal transmission of Mycoplasma synoviae an avian pathogen, a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay was developed to detect viable Mycoplasma in environment. The test was based on the RT-PCR of the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) of Mycoplasma genus. Results showed that Mycoplasma 16S rRNA was stable up to 23 h after cell death. Therefore, the test allowed detection of viable or very recently (less than 23 h) dead mycoplasmas. M. synoviae survival in artificially contaminated water, food and soil and in the environment of M. synoviae experimentally infected turkeys was estimated by culture and RT-PCR. The RT-PCR method was then applied in a naturally infected laying hen farm showing problems of recurrent mycoplasmosis in the hens. Results confirmed the usefulness of RT-PCR in checking the efficiency of biosecurity measures and in improving cleaning and disinfection protocols.

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