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Future Microbiol. 2009 Feb;4(1):45-64. doi: 10.2217/17460913.4.1.45.

Nucleic acids as viability markers for bacteria detection using molecular tools.

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CIRSEE (Centre International de Recherche Sur l'Eau et l'Environnement) - Suez Environment, 38 Rue Du Président Wilson 78230 Le Pecq, France.


A large set of nucleic acid detection methods with good sensitivity and specificity are now available for the detection of pathogens in clinical, food and environmental samples. Given increasing demand, many efforts have been made to combine these methods to assess viability. Genomic DNA PCR amplification has been shown to be inappropriate for distinguishing viable from dead bacteria owing to DNA stability. Many authors have tried to bypass this difficulty by switching to RNA amplification methods such as reverse transcription-PCR and nucleic acid sequence-based amplification. More recently, researchers have developed methods combining specific sample pretreatment with nucleic acid detection methods, notably ethidium or propidium monoazide pretreatment coupled with PCR DNA detection or direct viable count methods and subsequent fluorescent in situ hybridization of 16S rRNA. This review evaluates the performance of these different methods for viability assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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