Genetic confirmation of DRDC – Suffield Research Centre biological field simulants for the New Substances Notification Program


  1. Bader, D.
  2. Fisher, G.
  3. Rowsell, S.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Suffield Research Centre, Ralston AB (CAN)
In order to continue to use non-pathogenic organisms as biological warfare agent simulants for open air release, DRDC – Suffield Research Centre was required by Environment Canada to confirm the identities of the simulants employed and submit detailed information packages on each of the simulants in order to comply with the New Substances Notification Regulations. The simulant organisms were assessed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and in silico analysis. The simulant organisms included Pantoea agglomerans (a Gram-negative bacterial simulant formerly named Erwinia herbicola), Bacillus atrophaeus (a Gram-positive bacterial spore simulant formerly named Bacillus globigii) and Male Specific Coliphage 2 (MS2, a viral simulant) including its Escherichia coli host. Published polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for each of the organisms were reviewed, selected, modified as required, and put into practice. In silico analysis was conducted to address Environment Canada’s concern regarding the specificity of the aroQ assay to detect the P. agglomerans simulant strain and not related Pantoea strains, including plant pathogens. To address residual prevalence of the simulants prior to new releases, attempts were made to isolate them from DRDC – Suffield Research Centre field study sites where they were previously used. The PCR identification method for B. atrophaeus was used to confirm the identity of spore isolates found in environmental samples. The PCR identification method

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biological field simulant;PCR;in silico analysis;New Substances Notification Program;Environment Canada;Pantoea agglomerans;Bacillus atrophaeus;MS2 virus;E. coli K-12
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-R144 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2018
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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