Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Evaluation of PCR systems for the identification and differentiation of Mycoplasma agalactiae and Mycoplasma bovis: a collaborative trial.

Abstract

Diagnostic differentiation between the ruminant pathogens Mycoplasma agalactiae and Mycoplasma bovis is known to be problematic when only conventional serological and biochemical tests are used. The main reason for this is that both agents share a considerable number of related proteins and common epitopes. DNA-based detection methods offer advantages in terms of specificity and sensitivity. However, there is an urgent need to compare currently used PCR assays because they target different genomic regions and, therefore, may perform differently. In the present work, five laboratories, which use PCR routinely, evaluated the specificity of four different PCR systems for M. agalactiae and three systems for M. bovis on a total of 41 strains of the two Mycoplasma species including six previously unidentified strains. As the vast majority of PCR examinations (97.1% of all tests) correctly identified the strains the specificity of all seven detection systems appears to be high. In four cases, incorrect identification by conventional diagnostic methods was rectified by PCR. Isolates from non-typical hosts, i.e. three M. bovis strains from small ruminants and two M. agalactiae strains from cattle, were characterised by sequencing the 16S and part of the 23S ribosomal RNA genes.