Molecular Approaches to Identification of Bacterial Species

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Chapter: Pharmaceutical Microbiology : Bacteria

The need to identify microorganisms rapidly has led to the development of a number of molecular identification and characterization tools. These have not yet become routinely adopted in the analytical or diagnostic laboratory but probably will be in the future.


MOLECULAR APPROACHES TO IDENTIFICATION

 

The need to identify microorganisms rapidly has led to the development of a number of molecular identification and characterization tools. These have not yet become routinely adopted in the analytical or diagnostic laboratory but probably will be in the future. One such technique (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis; DGGE) isolates and amplifies 16S ribosomal DNA and, following sequencing of the bases, compares this with known sequences held in a reference library. This approach enables phylogenetic relationships to be derived even for those bacteria that have not previously been identified. Other systems examine the patterns of key constituents of the cells such as fatty acids and assign identities based on similarity matches to known reference cultures.

 

Molecular approaches can be of especially useful when attempting to detect a particular species. Thus, gene probes carrying fluorescent dyes can be used in hybridization procedures with the collected clinical material. Examination under the fluorescent microscope will show the targeted organism as fluorescent against a background of non-fluorescent organisms.

 


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