Detection of bovine trichomoniasis with a specific DNA probe and PCR amplification system

M. S Y Ho, Patricia A Conrad, P. J. Conrad, Rance B Lefebvre, E. Perez, Robert Bondurant

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35 Scopus citations


Trichomoniasis is a widespread, economically important venereal disease of cattle which causes infertility and abortion. Effective control of trichomoniasis has been impeded by the insensitivity of traditional diagnostic procedures, which require the isolation and cultivation of the parasite, Tritrichomonas foetus, from infected cattle. We developed a 0.85- kb T. foetus DNA probe by identifying conserved sequences in DNAs from T. foetus that were isolated from cattle in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Costa Rica. The probe hybridized specifically to DNAs of T. foetus isolates from different geographic areas but not to DNA preparations of Trichomonas vaginalis, bovine cells, or a variety of bacteria from cattle. The probe detected DNA from a minimum of 105 T. foetus organisms. To improve sensitivity, a partial sequence of the probe was used to identify oligonucleotide primers (TF1 and TF2) which could be used to amplify a 162- bp product from T. foetus DNAs by PCR. A chemiluminescent internal T. foetus sequence probe was hybridized to Southern blots of the amplification product. This system detected as few as one T. foetus organism in culture media or 10 parasites in samples containing bovine preputial smegma. Analysis of 52 clinical samples showed that 47 (90.4%) of the 52 samples were correctly identified, with no false-positive reactions. In comparison, the traditional cultivation method detected 44 (84.6%) of the 52 samples from T. foetus- infected and uninfected bulls. These results indicate that the PCR-based amplification system could be a useful alternative method for the diagnosis of bovine trichomoniasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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