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Evaluation of novel chromogenic substrates for the detection of bacterial beta-glucosidase

Lookup NU author(s): Dr John Perry, Professor Kate Gould


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To evaluate three previously unreported substrates for the detection of beta-glucosidase activity in clinically relevant bacteria and to compare their performance with a range of known substrates in an agar medium. The performance of 11 chromogenic beta-glucosidase substrates was compared using 109 Enterobacteriaceae strains, 40 enterococci and 20 strains of Listeria spp. Three previously unreported beta-glucosides were tested including derivatives of alizarin, 3',4'-dihydroxyflavone and 3-hydroxyflavone. These were compared with esculin and beta-glucoside derivatives of 3,4-cyclohexenoesculetin, 8-hydroxyquinoline and five indoxylics. All substrates yielded coloured precipitates upon hydrolysis in agar. Alizarin-beta-D-glucoside was the most sensitive substrate tested and detected beta-glucosidase activity in 72% of Enterobacteriaceae strains and all enterococci and Listeria spp. The two flavone derivatives showed poor sensitivity with Gram-negative bacteria but excellent sensitivity with enterococci and Listeria spp. Alizarin-beta-D-glucoside is a highly sensitive substrate for detection of bacterial beta-glucosidase and compares favourably with existing substrates. beta-glucosides of 3',4'-dihydroxyflavone and 3-hydroxyflavone are effective substrates for the detection of beta-glucosidase in enterococci and Listeria spp. The data presented allow for informed decisions to be made regarding the optimal choice of beta-glucosidase substrate for detection of pathogenic and/or indicator bacteria.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Perry JD, Morris KA, James AL, Oliver M, Gould FK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Microbiology

Year: 2007

Volume: 102

Issue: 2

Pages: 410-415

ISSN (print): 1364-5072

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2672

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.03096.x


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