Indian Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 172–178

Evaluation of PCR, DNA hybridization and immunomagnetic separation — PCR for detection of Burkholderia mallei in artificially inoculated environmental samples

Original Article


Glanders is highly contagious disease of equines, caused by Burkholderia mallei. The disease though rare, can be transmitted to humans. Here, we report a strategy for rapid detection of B. mallei from environmental samples. Different bacteriological media were evaluated and brain heart infusion broth medium with selective supplements (BHIB-SS) of penicillin (200 U/ml) and crystal violet (1:10,00000) was found to support the maximum growth of B. mallei even in the presence of other bacteria like Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a DNA hybridization method was standardized for 823 bp specific dNA sequence of B. mallei. To enable the quicker and direct enrichment of B. mallei bacteria from environmental samples, an immunomagnetic separation (IMS) method was also standardized. Water, husk, grass and gram samples were artificially contaminated by B. mallei bacteria and after enrichment of B. mallei in BHIB-SS, detection was carried out by PCR and DNA hybridization. PCR was found to be a better method of the two with a detection limit of 104–106 CFU/ml (6 h enrichment in BHIB-SS) in water and other particulate matrices. Detection by PCR in the above samples without enrichment in BHIBSS was carried out following IMS where the detection limit was about 1–2 log higher than PCR following enrichment in BHIB-SS. We recommend PCR for 823 bp for detection of B. mallei from environmental samples either following enrichment in BHIB-SS or IMS. IMS-PCR method may be preferred in situations where numbers of B. mallei bacteria are expected to be high and results are required in short time.


Burkholderia mallei DNA hybridization Immunomagnetic separation PCR Rapid detection 


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Copyright information

© Association of Microbiologists of India 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Merwyn
    • 1
  • S. Kumar
    • 2
  • G. S. Agarwal
    • 1
  • G. P. Rai
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of High Containment FacilityDefence Research and Development EstablishmentGwaliorIndia
  2. 2.Division of MicrobiologyDefence Research and Development EstablishmentGwaliorIndia

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