Detection by polymerase chain reaction of Clostridium perfringens producing epsilon toxin in faeces and in gastrointestinal contents of goats

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F.A. UZAL, J.J. PLUMB, L.L. BLACKALL, D. O'BOYLE AND W.R. KELLY. 1996. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify the gene-encoding epsilon toxin production in Clostridium perfringens types B and D in faeces and in gastrointestinal contents of goats. The samples were cultured in thioglycollate broth and centrifuged. The upper layer of the pellet was used as a template for PCR, obviating the need for DNA extraction. This technique specifically differentiated Cl. perfringens types B and D from Cl. perfringens types A and C and from Escherichia coli. When used to identify Cl. perfringens type D in samples artificially spiked with the micro-organism, the PCR detected as few as 1.4 × 102 cfu g-1 of sample. Gastrointestinal contents and faeces were collected from 20 goats at slaughter and processed by PCR. Several positive results were obtained from the first five goats that were slaughtered and sampled a few days after their arrival at the abattoir, but only a few samples gave positive results during the following weeks, after the goats had been fed a concentrated ration containing monensin. A possible role of this drug in control of enterotoxaemia is suggested.

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