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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2012 Sep;55(3):182-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2012.03276.x. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Using propidium monoazide to distinguish between viable and nonviable bacteria, MS2 and murine norovirus.

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1
Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

Erratum in

  • Lett Appl Microbiol. 2012 Nov;55(5):397.

Abstract

AIMS:

The ability to distinguish between viable and/or infectious micro-organisms and inactivated cells is extremely important for correctly performing microbial risk assessments. In this study, we evaluated whether propidium monoazide (PMA)-qPCR could distinguish between viable and nonviable bacteria and viruses.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

A PMA-qPCR combined assay was applied to viable and inactivated bacteria (Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis) and viruses (MS2 and murine norovirus [MNV]). PMA, a DNA-intercalating agent, in combination with PCR was better able to distinguish between viable and nonviable bacteria and viruses than conventional PCR.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that a combined PMA-qPCR assay can be used to measure the viability of bacterial cells and bacteriophage MS2, but not MNV.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

PMA-qPCR could potentially be used to measure the viability of some micro-organisms, including virus. However, a thorough evaluation should be performed prior to measuring the viability of micro-organisms by PMA-qPCR in a quantitative way.

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