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Int J Food Microbiol. 2009 Dec 31;136(2):165-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.04.023. Epub 2009 May 4.

Development and evaluation of rpoB based PCR systems to differentiate the six proposed species within the genus Cronobacter.

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Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Although there are various PCR based methods described in the literature to detect the genus Cronobacter, none of these methods is able to differentiate the six proposed species within this genus. A species differentiation is important for epidemiological studies. Moreover, the different species show differences in sensitivity to chemical agents and antibiotics. Here we report for the first time different rpoB based PCR systems which enable the identification to species level of strains previously confirmed to belong to the genus Cronobacter. Different primer pairs based on the rpoB sequences of the six Cronobacter species type strains were designed. Thereafter, 57 target and non-target strains, previously described in the Cronobacter taxonomy paper, were included for the specificity evaluation. C. turicensis, C. muytjensii, C. dublinensis and C. genomospecies 1 can be reliably identified by the proposed single primer pairs. Only target strains showed a correctly sized amplification product, whereas no amplification product was obtained for all non-target strains used in this study (100% specificity). However, as the rpoB gene sequences of C. sakazakii and C. malonaticus are closely related, a two step procedure is necessary. We therefore recommend a two-step procedure in which the primer pairs Cmalf/Cmalr are used in a follow up PCR on strains that are found to be positive in the amplification with the C. sakazakii specific primers Csakf/Csakr.

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