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Method and kit for rapid detection of toxins and bacteria

In one aspect of the invention there is described a method of detecting the presence of toxins, which may traverse bacterial membranes in some manner, in environmental samples using an indicator bacteria such as E. coli K-12 and a fluorescent signal. The method includes: (a) obtaining a positive control signal by placing an indicator bacteria strain such as E. coli K-12 and a bactericidal peptide such as a cecropin in a suitable buffer containing a fluorescent marker for bacterial DNA such as SYTOX; (b) obtaining a negative control signal by placing only the indicator bacteria strain in the buffer containing the fluorescent marker for bacterial DNA; (c) obtaining a test signal by combining an environmental test sample with the indicator bacteria strain and the fluorescent marker for bacterial DNA in the buffer; and (d) comparing the signal generated by the test sample to that obtained for the negative control. The presence of a toxin in the test sample is indicated when the test signal is greater than the signal provided by the negative control. Also described herein is a method of detecting the presence of bacteria in environmental samples using fluorescent markers and bactericidal peptides which penetrate or allow penetration of substances into bacteria, and kits for carrying out the above methods.
Patent Number: 
5,994,067
Patent Issue Date: 
November 30, 1999
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