Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) provides a reliable detection of pathogenic bacteria in water samples. However, this method can be adversely influenced by the purity of the DNA template. This is a particularly important obstacle when the bacterial DNA is directly extracted from water samples. In this study we compared the suitability of 8 different methods for isolation of bacterial DNA from pure cultures and 10 different methods for isolation of DNA from water samples. The quality of extracted DNA was assessed by PCR amplification of target sequences derived from uid (E. coli and Shigella sp.), tuf (Enterococcus sp.) and hns (Salmonella sp.). Results indicated that there are differences among the methods tested and only a few of them gave satisfactory results. The method based on alkaline lysis of bacterial suspension, which was developed in our laboratory, seemed to be efficient enough for the detection of bacteria from pure cultures. Detection of bacteria directly from water samples was more difficult. The modified method developed by Slusarenko was found as the best of the tested methods.

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