Bailey, A.M., Pajak, L., Fruchey, I.R., Cowan, C.A. and Emanuel, P.A.
Notes: This study describes the development of a system that can rapidly and accurately detect traces of biological agents from environmental samples. Using Erwinia herbicola and Bacillus subtilis var. niger as models for potential biological warfare agents, a method for DNA extraction using the Wizard® Magnetic DNA Purification System for Food, MagneSil® Blood Genomic, Max Yield System and a combination of the two was automated on a Beckman Coulter Biomek® FX robotic liquid handling system. The isolated DNA was used in a Taqman® real-time PCR assay that specifically amplified and identified DNA species. The ability of the MagneSil®-based DNA purification technology to eliminate PCR inhibitors was also evaluated. Various soil samples, surface swabs and air samples were mixed with bacterial cultures to see if any contaminants present in the samples inhibited PCR. It was found that the modified MagneSil® method described here eliminated many PCR inhibitors. (3094)