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Vet Microbiol. 2007 Nov 15;125(1-2):36-48. Epub 2007 May 13.

Detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in ovine faeces by direct quantitative PCR has similar or greater sensitivity compared to radiometric culture.

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Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia.


The aims of this study were to develop a new real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) assay based on IS900 for detection and quantification of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) DNA in faeces, and to use this to detect infected sheep. Both the C and S strains of MAP were detected by the QPCR assay, and no cross reactions were detected with 51 other species of mycobacteria including 10 which contained IS900-like sequences. One copy of IS900 fragment cloned into plasmid pCR2.1 and 1 fg of MAP genomic DNA were consistently detected, while in spiked faecal samples the detection limit was 10 viable MAP per gram of ovine faeces. A total of 506 individual ovine faecal samples and 27 pooled ovine faecal samples with known culture results were tested. The QPCR assay detected 68 of 69 BACTEC culture positive individual faeces and there was a strong relation between time to detection in culture and DNA quantity measured by QPCR (r= -0.70). In pooled faecal samples, QPCR also agreed with culture (kappa=0.59). MAP DNA was detected from some culture negative faecal samples from sheep exposed to MAP, suggesting that the QPCR has very high analytical sensitivity for MAP in faecal samples and detects non-viable MAP in ovine faeces. None of the faecal samples from 176 sheep that were not exposed to MAP were positive in QPCR. This is the first report of a direct faecal QPCR assay that has similar sensitivity to a gold standard radiometric culture assay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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