Improved method for rapid and accurate isolation and identification of Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus from human plaque samples.J Microbiol Methods. 2017 08; 139:205-209.JM
Mutans streptococci (MS), specifically Streptococcus mutans (SM) and Streptococcus sobrinus (SS), are bacterial species frequently targeted for investigation due to their role in the etiology of dental caries. Differentiation of S. mutans and S. sobrinus is an essential part of exploring the role of these organisms in disease progression and the impact of the presence of either/both on a subject's caries experience. Of vital importance to the study of these organisms is an identification protocol that allows us to distinguish between the two species in an easy, accurate, and timely manner. While conducting a 5-year birth cohort study in a Northern Plains American Indian tribe, the need for a more rapid procedure for isolating and identifying high volumes of MS was recognized. We report here on the development of an accurate and rapid method for MS identification. Accuracy, ease of use, and material and time requirements for morphological differentiation on selective agar, biochemical tests, and various combinations of PCR primers were compared. The final protocol included preliminary identification based on colony morphology followed by PCR confirmation of species identification using primers targeting regions of the glucosyltransferase (gtf) genes of SM and SS. This method of isolation and identification was found to be highly accurate, more rapid than the previous methodology used, and easily learned. It resulted in more efficient use of both time and material resources.