Based on the 16S rRNA sequences of a collection of well-characterized strains of Haemophilus somnus a set of primers was selected as candidates for a species-specific PCR test. All investigated H. somnus strains were found positive in the test, including 12 strains earlier found to represent H. somnus by DNA-DNA hybridization as well as representatives of the 16 ribotypes previously described within this species. The specificity of the test was evaluated on a broad collection of strains within the family Pasteurellaceae and on other Gram positive and negative species. None of these strains gave rise to an amplicon in the PCR test. The performance of the test on mixed cultures was evaluated by adding P. multocida to serial dilutions of H. somnus and incubating the agarplates for 1 and 2 days. This showed that the PCR test applied to the harvest from an agarplate can be expected to detect a single colony of H. somnus in the presence of 10(9) CFU of P. multocida even after 2 days of incubation. In conclusion, the present PCR test has been shown to represent a specific test for identification of H. somnus both in pure and mixed cultures. It represents a quick, sensitive and reliable method for identification of bacteria belonging to this phenotypically heterogeneous and often slow growing species.
Veterinary Microbiology, 1998, Vol 63, Issue 1, p. 39-48