Direct detection of enteropathogenic bacteria in estuarine water using nucleic acid probes

Ivor Knight, J. DiRuggiero, R. R. Colwell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Direct detection and enumeration of pathogenic bacteria, rather than indicator organisms, in aquatic environments is desirable but hindered by the difficulties of culturing and identifying specific pathogens from these environments. We have developed a method for concentrating bacteria from water samples and extracting their DNA and RNA for use as targets for pathogen-specific gene probes. The method has been used to detect and enumerate Salmonella spp. in estuarine water samples. The probe binds Salmonella DNA quantitatively, making it possible to estimate relative amounts of target in each sample. Salmonella spp. were detected in samples which yielded no Salmonella spp. using culturing. Since the probe method does not require culturing the target organism, both culturable and non-culturable forms are detected. We have also used polymerase chain reaction to amplify a region of the enterotoxin gene in enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholerae (ltx and ctx, respectively). The amplified products are then identified with ctx and ltx probes, making specific, highly sensitive detection possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealth-Related Water Microbiolgy 1990
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Apr 19 1991
EventProceedings of the IAWPRC International Symposium - Tuebingen, Ger
Duration: Apr 1 1990Apr 6 1990


OtherProceedings of the IAWPRC International Symposium
CityTuebingen, Ger

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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