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Avian Pathol. 2008 Apr;37(2):179-81. doi: 10.1080/03079450801918662.

Development of a polymerase chain reaction assay for specific identification of Clostridium colinum.

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Laboratorio di Treviso, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Viale Brigata Treviso, Treviso, Italy.


Clostridium colinum is the causative agent of ulcerative enteritis, a serious disease of the bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) and sporadically of young chickens. The aim of the present study was to develop a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay specific for C. colinum identification. The 16S rDNA sequence of C. colinum was analysed and two species-specific primers were designed. The specificity of these primers was tested with closely related Clostridium species and the expected amplified product (935 base pairs) was observed only with DNA from samples containing C. colinum. Results from performing PCR assays on faecal samples from quails spiked with different concentrations of C. colinum, showed that the detection limit of the assay was 1.6 x 10(4) colony-forming units per gram of faecal material. This PCR assay can be used in diagnostic laboratories to confirm the presence of C. colinum in pure cultures and could be used to screen enriched samples or faecal samples for the presence of this pathogen.

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