Ethidium monoazide (EMA) was used to quantify DNA selectively from viable cells with healthy membrane/cell wall system, but not from dead cells, of a target bacterium in the aquatic environment using real-time PCR. Spiking experiments to determine the EMA treatment conditions showed that EMA treatment with EMA at 10–25 μg/ml and subsequent halogen light exposure for 2 min was suitable for selective quantification of DNA from viable cells in an aquatic sample using real-time PCR coupled with EMA treatment (real-time EMA-PCR). Optimized real-time EMA-PCR was applied in combination with culture-based method and conventional real-time PCR without EMA treatment to elucidate the behavior of an Escherichia coli strain inoculated into a pond water microcosm. Quantification results obtained using real-time EMA-PCR were lower than those by conventional real-time PCR without EMA treatment and higher than those by culture-based method. The results suggest that quantification by real-time EMA-PCR seemed to represent the viable population, which would partly include viable but non-culturable state bacteria. Real-time EMA-PCR optimized here can be a useful tool for selective monitoring of the viable population of a target bacterium in the aquatic environment, and thereby contribute to assessment of potential microbial risks generated from waterborne pathogenic bacteria.
Application of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coupled with ethidium monoazide treatment for selective quantification of viable bacteria in aquatic environment
D. Inoue, H. Tsutsui, Y. Yamazaki, K. Sei, S. Soda, M. Fujita, M. Ike; Application of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coupled with ethidium monoazide treatment for selective quantification of viable bacteria in aquatic environment. Water Sci Technol 1 September 2008; 58 (5): 1107–1112. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2008.474
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