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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Aug;71(8):4214-9.

Development and assessment of a real-time pcr assay for rapid and sensitive detection of a novel thermotolerant bacterium, Lactobacillus thermotolerans, in chicken feces.

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Laboratory of Microbial Resources and Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Kita-9 Nishi-9, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8589, Japan.


A new real-time PCR assay was successfully developed using a TaqMan fluorescence probe for specific detection and enumeration of a novel bacterium, Lactobacillus thermotolerans, in chicken feces. The specific primers and probe were designed based on the L. thermotolerans 16S rRNA gene sequences, and these sequences were compared to those of all available 16S rRNA genes in the GenBank database. The assay, targeting 16S rRNA gene, was evaluated using DNA from a pure culture of L. thermotolerans, DNA from the closely related bacteria Lactobacillus mucosae DSM 13345(T) and Lactobacillus fermentum JCM 1173(T), and DNA from other lactic acid bacteria in quantitative experiments. Serial dilutions of L. thermotolerans DNA were used as external standards for calibration. The minimum detection limit of this technique was 1.84 x 10(3) cells/ml of an L. thermotolerans pure culture. The assay was then applied to chicken feces in two different trials. In the first trial, the cell population was 10(4) cells/g feces on day 4 and 10(5) cells/g feces on days 11 to 18. However, cell populations of 10(6) to 10(7) cells/g feces were detected in the second trial. The total bacterial count, measured by 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, was approximately 10(11) cells/g feces. These results suggest that in general, L. thermotolerans is a normal member of the chicken gut microbiota, although it is present at relatively low levels in the feces.

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