A methods comparison for the isolation and detection of thermophilic Campylobacter in agricultural watersheds
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Campylobacter species contribute to an enormous burden of enteric illnesses around the world. This study compared two different methods for detecting Campylobacter species in surface water samples from agricultural watersheds across Canada. One method was based on membrane filtration (MF) of 500 ml water samples followed by selective microaerophilic enrichment at 42 degrees C in Bolton broth, isolation of Campylobacter on CCDA, and subsequent identification confirmation by a PCR assay. The second method was based on centrifugation (CF) of 1000 ml water samples, followed by selective microaerophilic enrichment at 42 degrees C in Bolton broth, isolation of Campylobacter on Modified Karmali Agar, and subsequent identification confirmation by a different PCR assay. Overall comparison of the CF and MF methods indicated that both methods found Camylobacterjejuni to be the most commonly detected Campylobacter species in 699 water samples from four agricultural watersheds across Canada, and that C. jejuni frequency of occurrence was similar by both methods. However, the CF method detected significantly higher frequencies of Campylobactercoli (17%) and other Campylobacter species (13%) than the MF method (11% and 3%, respectively). It was frequently found that one method would detect Campylobacter in a water sample when the other method would not for a simultaneously collected, duplicate water sample. This study indicates that methods can have significantly different recovery efficiencies for Campylobacter species, and that caution is needed when comparing studies that report on the frequency of occurrence of waterborne Campylobacter at the genus level when different detection methods are used.
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