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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1997 Jan 1;146(1):47-51.

Discrimination between Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis using specific DNA probes based on variable regions of 16S rRNA.

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1
Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Identification of Bacillus cereus and differentiation between B. cereus and closely related species are currently based on biochemical tests. The main problem is to discriminate between B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Sequencing part of the 16S rRNA showed that several B. cereus isolates present in food and involved in food poisoning, confirmed according to the classical biochemical methods, were in fact B. thuringiensis. As this organism is the most commonly used microbial insecticide worldwide, the results of this study emphasize the need for accurate identification methods and for careful screening of strains for use as insecticides. Therefore, specific DNA probes based on the variable region VI of 16S rRNA of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis were designed. The probes were used in hybridization experiments with the variable region amplified using the polymerase chain reaction. In this way, a rapid and sensitive method was developed to distinguish B. cereus and B. thuringiensis.

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