Eva Forsgren, Giles E Budge, Jean-Daniel Charrière and Michael A Z Hornitzky
European foulbrood (EFB) is a severe bacterial honey bee brood disease caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Melissocccus plutonius. The disease is widely distributed worldwide, and is an increasing problem in some areas. Although the causative agent of EFB was described almost a century ago, many basic aspects of its pathogenesis are still unknown. Earlier studies were hampered by insensitive and unspecific methods such as culture based techniques. Recent advances in molecular technology are making it increasingly easy to detect and characterize microbes, and nucleic acid detection technologies are quickly displacing the traditional phenotypic assays in microbiology. This paper presents selected methodologies which focus on EFB and its causative agent M. plutonius.