The occurrence of Prevotella intermedia and Prevotella nigrescens in endodontic infections was studied using sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole cell protein to distinguish between the species. Previous studies have shown an association between black-pigmented bacteria (BPB) and endodontic infections and that Prevotella intermedia (previously known as Bacteroides intermedius) was the most commonly isolated BPB. Recently, however, strains identified as P. intermedia were shown to in fact be composed of two separate species, P. intermedia and P. nigrescens. Fifty-six strains of BPB isolated from endodontic infections and previously identified as P. intermedia were used in this study. Following SDS-PAGE, P. nigrescens showed a unique 18.6 kDa band that was used to differentiate P. nigrescens from P. intermedia. Of the 56 strains of BPB, 41 (73.2%) were identified as P. nigrescens and 15 (26.8%) as P. intermedia. This study confirms that P. nigrescens, and not P. intermedia, is the BPB most often isolated from infections of endodontic origin.
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