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Selection of a Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin producer via dot-blot test

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Clostridium perfringens type D produces enterotoxemia, an enteric disease in ruminants, also known as pulpy kidney disease. Caused by epsilon toxin, enterotoxemia is a major exotoxin produced by this microorganism. Epsilon toxin is also the main component of vaccines against this enteric disorder. In this study, a standardized dot-blot was used to choose strains of C. perfringens type D that are producers of epsilon toxin. Clones producing epsilon toxin were chosen by limiting dilution; after three passages, lethal minimum dose titers were determined by soroneutralization test in mice. These clones produced epsilon toxin 240 times more concentrated than the original strain. The presence of the epsilon toxin gene (etx) was verified by polymerase chain reaction. All clones were positive, including those determined to be negative by dot-blot tests, suggesting that mechanisms in addition to the presence of the etx gene can influence toxin production. The dot-blot test was efficient for the selection of toxigenic colonies of C. perfringens type D and demonstrated that homogeneous populations selected from toxigenic cultures produce higher titers of epsilon toxin.

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This work was supported by funds from Fapemig, CNPq, and FEPMVZ.

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Correspondence to Francisco C. F. Lobato.

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Communicated by Erko Stackebrandt.

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Gonçalves, L.A., Lobato, Z.I.P., Silva, R.O.S. et al. Selection of a Clostridium perfringens type D epsilon toxin producer via dot-blot test. Arch Microbiol 191, 847–851 (2009).

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