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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1992 Dec;58(12):3809-15.

Rapid and sensitive method for detection of Shiga-like toxin-producing Escherichia coli in ground beef using the polymerase chain reaction.

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Animal Diseases Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Lethbridge, Alberta.


A rapid and sensitive method for detection of Shiga-like toxin (SLT)-producing Escherichia coli (SLT-EC) with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is described. Two pairs of oligonucleotide primers homologous to SLTI and SLTII genes, respectively, were used in multiplex PCR assays. The first pair generated a ca. 600-bp PCR product with DNA from all SLTI-producing E. coli tested but not from E. coli strains that produce SLTII or variants of SLTII. The second pair generated a ca. 800-bp PCR product with DNA from E. coli strains that produce SLTII or variants of SLTII but not from SLTI-producing E. coli. When used in combination, the SLTI and SLTII oligonucleotide primers amplified DNA from all of the SLT-EC tested. No PCR products were obtained with SLT primers with DNA from 28 E. coli strains that do not produce SLT or 44 strains of 28 other bacterial species. When ground beef samples were inoculated with SLT-EC strains 319 (O157:H7; SLTI and SLTII), H30 (O26:H11; SLTI), and B2F1/3 (O91:H21; SLTII variants VT2ha and VT2hb) and cultured in modified Trypticase soy broth for 6 h at 42 degrees C, an initial sample inoculum of as few as 1 CFU of these SLT-EC strains per g could be detected in PCR assays with DNA extracted from the broth cultures.

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