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Subtyping Listeria monocytogenes from Bulk Tank Milk Using Automated Repetitive Element–Based PCR

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Sixty-one Listeria monocytogenes strains from raw milk were analyzed with an automated repetitive element–based PCR (rep-PCR) system to examine the utility of this system for serotype grouping and to determine whether specific regional relationships could be identified. Results of the similarity analysis revealed two primary clusters of L. monocytogenes isolates. Cluster 2 exclusively contained serogroup 1/2a isolates; however, two 1/2a isolates were also found in cluster 1. Isolates of serogroups 1/2b, 4b, 3b, and 4c were also in cluster 1. Clusters 1 and 2 were separated at a relative similarity of 86%. Listeria species other than L. monocytogenes (L. ivanovii, L. seeligeri, L. welshimeri, L. grayi, and L. innocua) had similarity scores of less than 80% in pairwise comparisons with the L. monocytogenes isolates. Thus, this method may be useful for species identification once an isolate is characterized as Listeria. When rep-PCR fingerprints of the L. monocytogenes 1/2a isolates were compared, there was no apparent regional grouping. However, discrimination between isolates suggests that the rep-PCR assay might be useful for tracking L. monocytogenes 1/2a and for tracking isolates across regions or within smaller ecological niches. The automated rep-PCR method could not discriminate between serotypes 1/2b and 4b but may be useful for discriminating between 1/2a and other serotypes and for tracking isolates within serotype 1/2a.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Environmental Microbial Safety Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA 2: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Albany, California 94710, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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