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Water Sci Technol. 2004;50(1):229-32.

Evaluation of a rapid polymerase chain reaction based identification technique for Vibrio cholerae isolates.

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


Rapid and accurate identification of waterborne pathogens, such as Vibrio cholerae, in drinking-water sources is important to enable effective resource management and public health protection. Phenotypic systems currently being used for the identification of Vibrio cholerae isolates are time-consuming and the need exists for the development of suitable molecular techniques that can offer both fast and reliable identification. During this study, isolates identified as Vibrio cholerae by means of two different biochemical test systems (API 20E and VITEK 32) were analysed with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to compare the reliability of the various identification systems. The selected PCR technique amplified a sequence within the outer membrane protein of Vibrio cholerae, a gene specific for V. cholerae. It was found that out of 243 isolates biochemically identified as V. cholerae with either the API or VITEK system, 21 isolates did not give a positive result with the PCR detection method. Sequencing the 16S rDNA of more than half of these isolates and comparison of the sequences with Internet databases indicated that most of the isolates belonged to the genus Aeromonas. The results indicated that the rapid PCR procedure was more accurate than the API or VITEK systems currently being used for the phenotypic identification of Vibrio cholerae isolates.

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