In this study, we report the development and validation of a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay using a Taqman®-labeled probe for the detection of Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MGLP assay). The MGLP assay was highly specific with a detection limit of 25 template copies per reaction and a quantification limit of 100 template copies per reaction. Validation of the assay was completed with 1247 samples (palatine cleft and tracheal swabs) from M. gallisepticum-positive and -negative chicken flocks. The MGLP assay was compared to an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), a conventional polymerase chain reaction assay (mgc2 PCR), and isolation of M. gallisepticum from naturally infected flocks. A total of 805 samples collected from negative flocks, as verified by ELISA and/or mgc2 PCR, were negative by the MGLP assay. A total of 442 samples were collected from positive flocks, of which a total of 228 samples were positive by the MGLP assay. These results agreed for 98.87% of the samples when tested by mgc2 PCR. When comparing the MGLP assay with M. gallisepticum isolation, the MGLP assay was more sensitive than isolation for detecting positive birds from a positive flock, 172/265 and 50/265, respectively. Overall, the MGLP assay and M. gallisepticum isolation agreed for 52.8% of the samples tested. In conclusion, the MGLP assay was highly specific, sensitive, and reproducible, and allowed the quantification of template copies directly from clinical samples.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4