Efficacy of species-specific recA PCR tests in the identification of Burkholderia cepacia complex environmental isolates

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In this study, we evaluated if recA species-specific PCR assays could be successfully applied to identify environmental isolates of the widespread Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) species. A total of 729 Bcc rhizosphere isolates collected in different samplings were assigned to the species B. cepacia genomovar I (61), B. cenocepacia recA lineage IIIB (514), B. ambifaria (124) and B. pyrrocinia (30), by means of recA (RFLP) analysis, and PCR tests were performed to assess sensitivity and specificity of recA species-specific primers pairs. B. cepacia genomovar I specific primers produced the expected amplicon with all isolates of the corresponding species (sensitivity, 100%), and cross-reacted with all B. pyrrocinia isolates. On the contrary, B. cenocepacia IIIB primers did not give the expected amplicon in 164 B. cenocepacia IIIB isolates (sensitivity, 68.1%), and isolates of distinct populations showed different sensitivity. B. ambifaria primers failed to amplify a recA-specific fragment only in a few isolates of this species (sensitivity, 93.5%). The absence of specific amplification in a high number of B. cenocepacia rhizosphere isolates indicates that recA specific PCR assays can lead to an underestimation of environmental microorganisms belonging to this bacterial species. © 2005 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39 - 45
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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