Comparison between culture and a multiplex quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay detecting Ureaplasma urealyticum and U. parvum

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 21;9(7):e102743. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102743. eCollection 2014.


A novel multiplex quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for simultaneous detection of U. urealyticum and U. parvum was developed and compared with quantitative culture in Shepard's 10 C medium for ureaplasmas in urethral swabs from 129 men and 66 women, and cervical swabs from 61 women. Using culture as the gold standard, the sensitivity of the qPCR was 96% and 95% for female urethral and cervical swabs, respectively. In male urethral swabs the sensitivity was 89%. The corresponding specificities were 100%, 87% and 99%. The qPCR showed a linear increasing DNA copy number with increasing colour-changing units. Although slightly less sensitive than culture, this multiplex qPCR assay detecting U. urealyticum and U. parvum constitutes a simple and fast alternative to the traditional methods for identification of ureaplasmas and allows simultaneous species differentiation and quantitation in clinical samples. Furthermore, specimens overgrown by other bacteria using the culture method can be evaluated in the qPCR.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / methods
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Male
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ureaplasma / genetics
  • Ureaplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Ureaplasma Infections / diagnosis*
  • Ureaplasma Infections / microbiology*
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum / genetics
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum / isolation & purification
  • Urethra / microbiology

Grant support

The authors have no funding or support to report.