Species-specific DNA probe and development of a quantitative PCR assay for the detection ofMorganella morganii

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Aims:To develop a SYBR Green quantitative PCR assay (qPCR) for the specific detection of Morganella morganii, a fish pathogen responsible for the Histamine Fish Poisoning.Methods and Results:A new primer set, amplifying a 179-bp fragment of the 16S rRNA gene, was selected for specificity, and 14 M. morganii strains and 32 non-Morganella strains were evaluated. The melting temperature of 84°C was consistently specific for the amplicon. Two standard curves were constructed: the minimum detection sensitivity was 0·563 pg of pure DNA, corresponding to DNA extracted from nine cells of M. morganii. The qPCR assay was evaluated in experiments with seeded fish samples, and the regression coefficient values were calculated.Conclusions:A highly specific and rapid assay was developed for the detection of M. morganii in tuna fish samples.Significance and Impact of the Study:This method represents the first study about the quantification of pathogenic M. morganii in fish products. This approach can be utilized to prevent the presence of this undesirable species in the food chain.

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