Detection of Bacteroides fragilis in clinical specimens by PCR

Y. Yamashita, S. Kohno, H. Koga, K. Tomono, M. Kaku

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The direct detection of Bacteroides fragilis from clinical specimens was examined by using the PCR method for amplifying a specific fragment of the glutamine synthetase gene from B. fragilis. By this method, all five B. fragilis strains tested were detected, but DNAs from anaerobic bacteria of 24 other species tested, from aerobic bacteria of 12 species tested, and from human leukocytes were not amplified. Using the nested PCR method, we were able to detect as little as one bacterial cell or 100 fg of chromosomal DNA of B. fragilis. A total of 39 clinical specimens, which consisted of 19 bronchial aspirates, 10 percutaneous lung aspirates, 2 transtracheal aspirates, 6 pleural fluid specimens, and 2 pus specimens, were tested. All four culture-positive samples, of which two were bronchial aspirates, one was pleural fluid, and one was pus, were positive by PCR. Among 35 culture- negative samples, 2 bronchial aspirates were positive by PCR. One was from a patient whose two previous samples were positive by both culture and PCR. It had been submitted for culture several hours after collection, and clindamycin had been administered to the patient before collection of the specimen. The other bronchial aspirate positive by PCR was from a pneumonia patient who had also been administered clindamycin. We believe that B. fragilis was present in these two specimens but that either it was dead, it was below the level detectable by culture, or the process of anaerobic culture was unsuccessful. Thus, the PCR method may be considered useful for the sensitive and rapid detection of anaerobes in clinical specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-683
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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