DAO 49:129-138 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/dao049129

PCR-based assays for the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida. I. Evaluation of three PCR primer sets for detection and identification

Helen K. Byers, Nicholas Gudkovs, Mark St. J. Crane*

Australian Animal Health Laboratory, CSIRO Livestock Industries, Private Bag 24, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: In an effort to develop a rapid diagnostic test for the fish pathogen Aeromonas salmonicida, the performance of 2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primer sets (AP and PAAS) targeting the fish pathogen A. salmonicida and 1 PCR primer set (MIY) targeting A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida were evaluated. Initially, the PCR assays were used to screen purified DNA extracted from 308 A. salmonicida isolates. The AP and PAAS PCR tests were demonstrated to be 100% specific for the species A. salmonicida and did not cross-react with any of the non-target organisms (bacterial species other than A. salmonicida) used in this study. The combined sensitivity of the AP and PAAS tests was 99.4% and offered the best coverage in terms of identifying the target organism. The MIY PCR appeared to be 100% sensitive and specific for A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida. Studies with tissues, spiked with known quantities of bacteria, were conducted to determine the lower detection limit of the PCR tests, and then the ability of these PCR tests to detect A. salmonicida in experimentally infected salmonids was assessed.

KEY WORDS: Aeromonas salmonicida · Furunculosis · Detection · Identification · Experimental infections · Polymerase chain reaction

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