Discriminating between d-tartrate fermenting and non-fermenting strains of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype Paratyphi B is of major importance as these two variants have different pathogenic profiles. While d-tartrate non-fermenting S. Paratyphi B isolates are the causative agent of typhoid-like fever, d-tartrate fermenting isolates (also called variant Java) of the same serotype trigger the less dangerous gastroenteritis. The determination of S. Paratyphi B variants requires a time-consuming process and complex biochemical tests. Therefore, a quadruplex real-time PCR method, based on the allelic discrimination of molecular markers selected from the scientific literature and from whole genome sequencing data produced in-house, was developed in this study, to be applied to Salmonella isolates. This method was validated with the analysis of 178 S. Paratyphi B (d-tartrate fermenting and non-fermenting) and other serotypes reaching an accuracy, compared with the classical methods, of 98% for serotyping by slide agglutination and 100% for replacement of the biochemical test. The developed real-time PCR permits to save time and to obtain an accurate identification of a S. Paratyphi B serotype and its d-tartrate fermenting profile, which is needed in routine laboratories for fast and efficient diagnostics.
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