Affordable Access

Identification of Clinical Staphylococcal Isolates from Humans by Internal Transcribed Spacer PCR

  • Isabel Couto
  • Sandro Pereira
  • Maria Miragaia
  • Ilda Santos Sanches
  • Hermínia de Lencastre
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2001


The emergence of coagulase-negative staphylococci not only as human pathogens but also as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance determinants requires the deployment and development of methods for their rapid and reliable identification. Internal transcribed spacer-PCR (ITS-PCR) was used to identify a collection of 617 clinical staphylococcal isolates. The amplicons were resolved in high-resolution agarose gels and visually compared with the patterns obtained for the control strains of 29 staphylococcal species. Of the 617 isolates studied, 592 (95.95%) were identified by ITS-PCR and included 11 species: 302 isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis, 157 of S. haemolyticus, 79 of S. aureus, 21 of S. hominis, 14 of S. saprophyticus, 8 of S. warneri, 6 of S. simulans, 2 of S. lugdunensis, and 1 each of S. caprae, S. carnosus, and S. cohnii. All species analyzed had unique ITS-PCR patterns, although some were very similar, namely, the group S. saprophyticus, S. cohnii, S. gallinarum, S. xylosus, S. lentus, S. equorum, and S. chromogenes, the pair S. schleiferi and S. vitulus, and the pair S. piscifermentans and S. carnosus. Four species, S. aureus, S. caprae, S. haemolyticus, and S. lugdunensis, showed polymorphisms on their ITS-PCR patterns. ITS-PCR proved to be a valuable alternative for the identification of staphylococci, offering, within the same response time and at lower cost, higher reliability than the currently available commercial systems.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times