AIMS--To assess a chemiluminescent universal probe for taxonomical and epidemiological investigations of Aeromonas sp isolates. METHODS--Total DNA was extracted from 69 well characterised Aeromonas sp strains and digested with the restriction endonucleases Sma I or Pst I. Following electrophoresis, the resulting fragments were transferred to a nylon membrane where they were hybridised to a commercially available universal probe of 16S + 23S rRNA. The banding patterns (ribotypes) were made visible by enhanced chemiluminescence. RESULTS--Both restriction endonucleases produced heterogeneous ribotypes so that no allocation could be made to any of the control genospecies tested. For A hydrophila and A caviae, however, groups of strains (mostly from the same patient) could be identified by indistinguishable banding patterns. A relatively high proportion (36%) of A sobria strains were non-typable. CONCLUSIONS--Although this universal chemiluminescent probe is user friendly, it is unsuitable for taxonomical investigations of Aeromonas sp. It is useful in epidemiological studies of A hydrophila and A caviae, but is of less value for A sobria.
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