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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2013 Apr;10(4):343-52. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2012.1344.

Identification and characterization of five new molecular serogroups of Cronobacter spp.

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MOD 1 Facility Virulence Mechanisms Branch (HFS-025), Division of Virulence Assessment, OARSA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA.


Cronobacter spp. (formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) is an emerging foodborne pathogen consisting of seven species including C. sakazakii, C. malonaticus, C. muytjensii, C. turicensis, C. dublinensis (with three subspecies, dublinensis, lausannensis, and lactaridi), C. universalis, and C. condimenti. To date, 12 Cronobacter serogroups have been identified. In this study, MboII restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns and DNA sequences of O-antigen gene clusters were used to identify novel serogroups of Cronobacter spp. Sequence analysis of the O-antigen regions, located between galF and gnd, of strains with distinct restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns revealed five unique gene clusters. These new O-antigen gene clusters were species specific and were termed C. turicensis O3, C. muytjensii O2, C. dublinensis O1, C. dublinensis O2, and C. universalis O1. Polymerase chain reaction assays were developed using primers specific to O-antigen processing genes and used to screen a collection of Cronobacter strains to determine the frequency of these newly identified serotypes.

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