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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2007;45(11):1464-70.

Evaluation of genus-specific and species-specific real-time PCR assays for the identification of Brucella spp.

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Department of Bacteriology, Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, Munich, Germany.



The identification of Brucella isolates using conventional microbiological techniques is time-consuming and hazardous. We therefore assessed the performance of real-time PCR assays for the identification of members of the genus Brucella to the genus and species level.


We evaluated an in-house developed assay and various previously published real-time PCR assays targeting bcsp31, per, IS711, alkB/IS711 and BMEI1162/IS711 using 248 Brucella strains representing the biotypes of all species and a large panel of clinically relevant, phylogenetically related and serologically cross-reacting bacteria.


No misidentification was observed. However, several biotypes of Brucella abortus and Brucella suis were not detected with some of the published assays. The limit of detection varied widely among the assays (16-1600 fg) demonstrating that some assays should not be applied to clinical samples but may help to identify colony material.


In summary, most of the assays revealed low detection limits and proved to be highly selective for the detection of the genus Brucella and the species that are most relevant for humans. Assays targeting the bcsp31 gene can be recommended to screen for Brucella. Species-specific assays should be consecutively applied confirming the primary diagnosis by a second gene target.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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