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Can J Microbiol. 2004 Nov;50(11):911-22.

Multiplex PCR detection of clinical and environmental strains of Vibrio vulnificus in shellfish.

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Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1300 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294-1170, USA.

Erratum in

  • Can J Microbiol. 2007 May;53(5):671.


In this study, we developed a PCR-based rapid detection method for clinically important pathogenic strains of Vibrio vulnificus. Positive amplification of the 504-bp viuB fragment was seen in all 22 clinical isolates tested but only in 8 out of 33 environmental isolates. The combination of the species-specific 205-bp vvh fragment along with viuB in a multiplexed PCR enabled us to confirm the presence of potentially pathogenic strains of V. vulnificus. No amplification of other Vibrio spp. or non-Vibrio bacteria was evidenced, suggesting a high specificity of detection by this method. The sensitivity of detection for both targeted genes was 10 pg of purified DNA, which correlated with 10(3) V. vulnificus CFU in 1 mL of pure culture or 1 g un-enriched seeded oyster tissue homogenate. This sensitivity was improved to 1 CFU per gram of oyster tissue homogenate in overnight-enriched samples. A SYBR Green I based real-time PCR method was also developed that was shown to produce results consistent with the conventional PCR method. Application of the multiplexed real-time PCR to natural oyster tissue homogenates exhibited positive detection of vvh in 51% of the samples collected primarily during the summer months; however, only 15% of vvh positive samples exhibited viuB amplicons. The rapid, sensitive, and specific detection of clinically important pathogenic V. vulnificus in shellfish would be beneficial in reducing illnesses and deaths caused by this pathogen.

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