Table of Contents
International Scholarly Research Notices
Volume 2014, Article ID 197234, 7 pages
Research Article

Identification of pBC218/pBC210 Genes of Bacillus cereus G9241 in Five Florida Soils Using qPCR

Center for Biological Defense, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

Received 20 March 2014; Accepted 2 May 2014; Published 3 July 2014

Academic Editor: Christopher K. Cote

Copyright © 2014 Vicki Ann Luna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The distribution of the virulent plasmid pBC210 of B. cereus that carries several B. anthracis genes and has been implicated in lethal anthrax-like pulmonary disease is unknown. We screened our collection of 103 B. cereus isolates and 256 soil samples using a quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay that targeted three open reading frames putatively unique to pBC210. When tested with DNA from 2 B. cereus strains carrying pBC210, and 64 Gram-positive and 55 Gram-negative bacterial species, the assay had 100% sensitivity and specificity. None of the DNA from the B. cereus isolates yielded positive amplicons but DNA extracted from five soils collected in Florida gave positive results for all three target sequences of pBC210. While screening confirms that pBC210 is uncommon in B. cereus, this study is the first to report that pBC210 is present in Florida soils. This study improves our knowledge of the distribution of pBC210 in soils and, of public health importance, the potential threat of B. cereus isolates carrying the toxin-carrying plasmid. We demonstrated that sequences of pBC210 can be found in a larger geographical area than previously thought and that finding more B. cereus carrying the virulent plasmid is a possibility in the future.