Bovine mastitis is caused mainly by certain and species. The sequences of the 16S-23S rRNA spacer regions were determined for the nine species which cause mastitis: and Significant variation was found between the spacer sequences of different species with the lengths of the spacers varying from 240 to 461 bp. Between genera the spacers shared only short conserved regions (8-9 bp) and within genera the sequence identities varied from 53 to 85%. This variation made it possible to construct specific primer pairs for these species and genera. The specificities of these primers were tested with 25 bacterial species and 51 isolates from cattle with clinical mastitis. The DNA-based identification of the mastitis species was mostly successful.


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