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Development and Validation of a Nested-PCR-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis Method for Taxonomic Characterization of Bifidobacterial Communities

  • R. Temmerman
  • L. Masco
  • T. Vanhoutte
  • G. Huys
  • J. Swings
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2003
  • Biology
  • Design
  • Ecology


The taxonomic characterization of a bacterial community is difficult to combine with the monitoring of its temporal changes. None of the currently available identification techniques are able to visualize a “complete” community, whereas techniques designed for analyzing bacterial ecosystems generally display limited or labor-intensive identification potential. This paper describes the optimization and validation of a nested-PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) approach for the species-specific analysis of bifidobacterial communities from any ecosystem. The method comprises a Bifidobacterium-specific PCR step, followed by purification of the amplicons that serve as template DNA in a second PCR step that amplifies the V3 and V6-V8 regions of the 16S rRNA gene. A mix of both amplicons is analyzed on a DGGE gel, after which the band positions are compared with a previously constructed database of reference strains. The method was validated through the analysis of four artificial mixtures, mimicking the possible bifidobacterial microbiota of the human and chicken intestine, a rumen, and the environment, and of two fecal samples. Except for the species Bifidobacterium coryneforme and B. indicum, all currently known bifidobacteria originating from various ecosystems can be identified in a highly reproducible manner. Because no further cloning and sequencing of the DGGE bands is necessary, this nested-PCR-DGGE technique can be completed within a 24-h span, allowing the species-specific monitoring of temporal changes in the bifidobacterial community.

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