A molecular typing technique was developed for the differentiation of Salmonella isolates based on single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis of amplicons generated by PCR. Amplicons from parts of the fimA (both the 5′ and 3′ ends), mdh, invA, and atpD genes were generated separately from a panel of Salmonella strains representing Salmonella bongori, and four subspecies and 17 serovars of Salmonella enterica. These amplicons were subjected to SSCP analysis for differentiation of the salmonellae on the basis of different conformational forms arising due to nucleotide sequence variations in the target genes. Several distinct SSCP banding patterns (a maximum of 14 each for atpD and fimA 3′ end) were observed with this panel of Salmonella strains for amplicons generated from each target gene. The best discrimination of Salmonella subspecies and serovar was achieved from the SSCP analysis of a combination of at least three gene targets: atpD, invA, and either mdh or fimA 3′ end. This demonstrates the applicability of SSCP analysis as an important additional method to classical typing approaches for the differentiation of foodborne Salmonella isolates. SSCP is simple to perform and should be readily transferable to food microbiology laboratories with basic PCR capability.

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