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Biochemical fingerprinting compared with ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of DNA for epidemiological typing of enterococci.

  • Kühn, I
  • Burman, L G
  • Haeggman, S
  • Tullus, K
  • Murray, B E
Published Article
Journal of clinical microbiology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 1995
PMID: 8576324


The Phene Plate (PhP) biochemical fingerprinting system for bacteria is based on measurements of the kinetics of bacterial biochemical reactions. This system was modified for typing of enterococci and was compared with DNA typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and with ribotyping by using 45 Enterococcus faecalis isolates from international collections. It was also used to study 170 fecal enterococcal isolates from healthy individuals and 28 isolates of E. faecalis from the blood of neonates. The PhP system showed a high degree of discriminatory power for unrelated enterococcal isolates. Among the 170 unrelated fecal isolates, 107 isolates from international collections, PhP typing discriminated 19 types, and ribotyping discriminated 5 types. In most cases, when isolates were of the same DNA type, they were also of the same PhP type, and the level of agreement between these two methods was high (96%). A combination of PhP typing and DNA typing identified 34 different types, but ribotyping did not yield any further discrimination. PhP typing of E. faecalis isolates from healthy individuals (n = 89) and from the blood of neonates with septicemia (n = 28) yielded a diversity of 0.93 for both populations and similar major PhP types in both populations. Thus, the isolates from blood seemed to consist of a normal E. faecalis population, without a dominance of certain strains associated with virulence. We conclude that the PhP system is useful for epidemiological studies of enterococcal isolates, yielding results similar to those obtained with DNA typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Since PhP typing is a method that is simple and rapid and that is based on automatic evaluation of the data, it is suitable for analyzing large numbers of isolates and can be used alone or in combination with DNA typing or epidemiological and ecological studies of enterococci.

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