Background: Clostridium perfringens is an anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium which is commonly present in the gastrointestinal tract of man and animals and causes enteritic diseases in animals and food poisoning in humans. Previous studies have looked at the epidemiological relationship between C. perfringens isolates from outbreak source. In this study, the genetic diversity of C. perfringens strains from non-outbreak food and faecal specimens was investigated for epidemiological purposes.
Methods: We analyzed thirty-eight (38) Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from food and faecal specimens in Lagos State. Bacterial identification was done using colonial morphology, Gram stain reaction, conventional biochemical tests and PCR. Genetic analysis was performed using arbitrary primed polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) technique with oligonucleotide primer of random sequences (OPA-3) to determine the genetic diversity of C. perfringens. The distance between the different bands produced were analyzed using numerical taxonomy and multivariate system software (NTSYS).
Results: Seventeen (44.7%) C. perfringens strains showed at least one polymorphic DNA patterns when genotyped. However, this method identified polymorphisms among the C. perfringens species from which four genetic groups (1, 2, 3 and 4) were established.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there may be faecal contamination of food products and similar clones of Clostridium perfringens may be incriminated.
Keywords: AP-PCR; Clostridium perfringens; Faeces; Food; Food poisoning; Genetic variation.
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