Optimization of PMA-PCR Protocol for Viability Detection of PathogensThis presented study demonstrates the need that PMA-PCR can be used to capture the loss of viability of a sample that is much more specific and time-efficient than alternative methods. This protocol is particularly useful in scenarios in which sterilization treatments may inactivate organisms but not degrade their DNA. The use of a PCR-based method of pathogen detection without first inactivating the DNA of nonviable cells will potentially lead to false positives. The loss of culturability, by heat-killing, did not prevent amplified PCR products, which supports the use of PMA to prevent amplification and differentiate between viable and dead cells. PMA was shown to inhibit the amplification of DNA by PCR in vegetative cells that had been heat-killed.