Environmental occurrence of the Whipples disease bacterium (Tropheryma whippelii).
Maiwald M. Schuhmacher F. Ditton HJ. von Herbay A.
Hygiene-Institut der Universitat, Abteilung Hygiene und Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Heidelberg, Germany. email@example.com
Whipple's disease is a systemic disorder in which a gram-positive rod-shaped bacterium is constantly present in infected tissues. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to culture this bacterium, it was eventually characterized by 16S rRNA gene analysis to be a member of the actinomycetes. The name Tropheryma whippelii was proposed. Until now, the bacterium has only been found in infected human tissues, but there is no evidence for human-to-human transmission. Here we report the detection of DNA specific for the Whipple's disease bacterium in 25 of 38 wastewater samples from five different sewage treatment plants in the area of Heidelberg, Germany. These findings provide the first evidence that T. whippelii occurs in the environment, within a polymicrobial community. This is in accordance with the phylogenetic relationship of this bacterium as well as with known epidemiological aspects of Whipple's disease. Our data argue for an environmental source for infection with the Whipple's disease bacterium.
A novel sensitive bioassay for detection of Bacillus cereus emetic toxin and related depsipeptide ionophores.
Andersson MA. Mikkola R. Helin J. Andersson MC. Salkinoja-Salonen M.
Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, University of Helsinki, Finland. Maria.A.Andersson@Helsinki.fi
Of the toxins produced by Bacillus cereus, the emetic toxin is likely the most dangerous but, due to the lack of a suitable assay, the least well known. In this paper, a new, sensitive, inexpensive, and rapid bioassay for detection of the emetic toxin of B. cereus is described. The assay is based on the loss of motility of boar spermatozoa upon 24 h of exposure to extracts of emetic B. cereus strains or contaminated food. The paralyzed spermatozoa exhibited swollen mitochondria, but no depletion of cellular ATP or damage to plasma membrane integrity was observed. Analysis of the purified toxin by electrospray tandem mass spectrometry showed that it was a dodecadepsipeptide with a mass fragmentation pattern similar to that described for cereulide. The 50% effective concentration of the purified toxin to boar spermatozoa was 0.5 ng of purified toxin ml of extended boar semen-1. This amount corresponds to 10(4) to 10(5) CFU of B. cereus cells. No toxicity was detected for 27 other B. cereus strains up to 10(8) CFU ml-1. The detection limit for food was 3 g of rice containing 10(6) to 10(7) CFU of emetic B. cereus per gram. Effects similar to those provoked by emetic B. cereus toxin were also induced in boar spermatozoa by valinomycin and gramicidin at 2 and 3 ng ml of extended boar semen-1, respectively. The symptoms provoked by the toxin in spermatozoa indicated that B. cereus emetic toxin was acting as a membrane channel-forming ionophore, damaging mitochondria and blocking the oxidative phosphorylation required for the motility of boar spermatozoa.
Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR analysis of bovine Cryptosporidium parvum strains isolated from the watershed of the Red River of the North.
Shianna KV. Rytter R. Spanier JG.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202, USA.
Cryptosporidium parvum is a protozoan parasite that causes the disease cryptosporidiosis in a variety of mammals, including neonatal calves and humans. Millions of oocysts are shed during acute cryptosporidiosis, and zoonotic transmission is inferred, though not proven, to be a general phenomenon. Very little is known about the degree of strain variation exhibited by bovine and human isolates, though such knowledge would enable the amount of bovine-to-human transmission to be more precisely analyzed. This research was initiated to determine whether variations exist among bovine strains isolated from a localized geographic area, the watershed of the Red River of the North. Sixteen strains were isolated and compared to each other and to two human and two calf strains from Australia by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA PCR. A statistical analysis of the data indicated that the isolates belonged to four different groups of strains.