Molecular Probes for Diagnosis of Clinically Relevant Bacterial Infections in Blood Cultures

Wendy L. J. Hansen, Judith Beuving, Cathrien A. Bruggeman, Petra F. G. Wolffs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Broad-range real-time PCR and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene region is a widely known method for the detection and identification of bacteria in clinical samples. However, because of the need for sequencing, such identification of bacteria is time-consuming. The aim of our study was to develop a more rapid 16S real-time PCR-based identification assay using species-or genus-specific probes. The Gram-negative bacteria were divided into Pseudomonas species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and other Gram-negative species. Within the Gram-positive species, probes were designed for Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus species, Streptococcus species, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The assay also included a universal probe within the 16S rRNA gene region for the detection of all bacterial DNA. The assay was evaluated with a collection of 248 blood cultures. In this study, the universal probe and the probes targeting Pseudomonas spp., P. aeruginosa, E. coli, Streptococcus spp., S. pneumoniae, Enterococcus spp., and Staphylococcus spp. all had a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. The probe specific for S. aureus showed eight discrepancies, resulting in a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 93%. These data showed high agreement between conventional testing and our novel real-time PCR assay. Furthermore, this assay significantly reduced the time needed for identification. In conclusion, using pathogen-specific probes offers a faster alternative for pathogen detection and could improve the diagnosis of bloodstream infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4432-4438
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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