Real-time quantitative PCR for enteric adenovirus serotype 40 in environmental waters
Adenoviruses 40 and 41 have been recognized as important etiological agents of gastroenteritis in children. A real-time PCR method (TaqMan((R)) assay) was developed for rapid quantification of adenovirus 40 (Ad40) by amplifying an 88 bp sequence from the hexon gene. To establish a quantification standard curve, a 1090 bp hexon region of Ad40 was amplified and cloned into the pGEM (R)-T Vector. A direct correlation was observed between the fluorescence threshold cycle number (Ct) and the starting quantity of Ad40 hexon gene. The quantification was linear over 6-log units and the amplification efficiency averaged greater than 95%. Seeding studies using various environmental matrices (including sterile water, creek water, brackish estuarine water, ocean water, and secondary sewage effluent) suggest that this method is applicable to environmental samples. However, real-time PCR was sensitive to inhibitors present in the environmental samples. Lower efficiency of PCR amplification was found in secondary sewage effluent and creek waters. Application of the method to fecal contaminated waters successfully quantified the presence of Ad40. The sensitivity of the real-time PCR is comparable to the traditional nested PCR assay for environmental samples. In addition, the real-time PCR assay offers the advantage of speed and insensitivity to contamination during PCR set up. The real-time PCR assay developed in this study is suitable for quantitative determination of Ad40 in environmental samples and represents a considerable advancement in pathogen quantification in aquatic environments.