Author(s): Strmer M, Kleesiek K, Dreier J
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Nucleic acid isolation, the most technically demanding and laborious procedure performed in molecular diagnostics, harbors the potential for improvements in automation. A recent development is the use of magnetic beads covered with nucleic acid-binding matrices. We adapted this technology with a broad-range 23S rRNA real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assay for fast and sensitive detection of bacterial contamination of blood products. METHODS: We investigated different protocols for an automated high-volume extraction method based on magnetic-separation technology for the extraction of bacterial nucleic acids from platelet concentrates (PCs). We added 2 model bacteria, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Escherichia coli, to a single pool of apheresis-derived, single-donor platelets and assayed the PCs by real-time RT-PCR analysis with an improved primer-probe system and locked nucleic acid technology. Co-amplification of human beta(2)-microglobulin mRNA served as an internal control (IC). We used probit analysis to calculate the minimum concentration of bacteria that would be detected with 95\% confidence. RESULTS: For automated magnetic bead-based extraction technology with the real-time RT-PCR, the 95\% detection limit was 29 x 10(3) colony-forming units (CFU)/L for S. epidermidis and 22 x 10(3) CFU/L for E. coli. No false-positive results occurred, either due to nucleic acid contamination of reagents or externally during testing of 1030 PCs. CONCLUSIONS: High-volume nucleic acid extraction improved the detection limit of the assay. The improvement of the primer-probe system and the integration of an IC make the RT-PCR assay appropriate for bacteria screening of platelets.
This article was published in Clin Chem
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense