Standardization of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis Protocols for the Subtyping of Escherichia Coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Shigella for PulseNet

Foodborne Pathog Dis. Spring 2006;3(1):59-67. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2006.3.59.


Standardized rapid pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) protocols for the subtyping of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella serotypes, and Shigella species are described. These protocols are used by laboratories in PulseNet, a network of state and local health departments, and other public health laboratories that perform real-time PFGE subtyping of these bacterial foodborne pathogens for surveillance and outbreak investigations. Development and standardization of these protocols consisted of a thorough optimization of reagents and reaction conditions to ensure that the protocols yielded consistent results and high-quality PFGE pattern data in all the PulseNet participating laboratories. These rapid PFGE protocols are based on the original 3-4-day standardized procedure developed at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was validated in 1996 and 1997 by eight independent laboratories. By using these rapid standardized PFGE protocols, PulseNet laboratories are able to subtype foodborne pathogens in approximately 24 h, allowing for the early detection of foodborne disease case clusters and often aiding in the identification of the source responsible for the infections.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field / standards*
  • Escherichia coli O157 / classification*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Laboratories / standards*
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Salmonella / classification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serotyping
  • Shigella / classification*