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PCR method to detect B. cereus strains producing emetic toxin

Molecular assay for rapid and conclusive identification of emetic toxin (cereulide) producing Bacillus cereus.

A gene fragment of the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase that is responsible for emetic toxin production in Bacillus cereus was identified and used for detection and identification of emetic toxin producing B. cereus. The resulting assay is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques and its specificity has been proven with a test panel of 200 bacterial isolates. Bacillus cereus group isolates as well as non-B. Cereus group isolates, with special emphasis on food pathogens, were included in this survey.

The developed molecular assay allows a rapid detection of emetic B. cereus strains within a day. The simplicity of this assay renders it applicable for most routine labs and it is expected that this will improve food safety and diagnosis of the emetic type of illness caused by B. cereus.

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