Morpho-Physiological and Biochemical Criteria of Acanthamoeba spp. Isolated from the Egyptian Aquatic Environment.
AbstractBackground: The free-living amoebae Acanthamoeba spp., have been recognized as etiologic agents of amoebic encephalitis, keratitis, otitis, lung lesions and other skin infections mainly in immuno-compromised individuals. In this study, morpho-physiological and biochemical characterization of Acanthamoeba strains isolated from the Egyptian aquatic environment were surveyed. Methods: some Acanthamoeba species were cultivated on non-nutrient agar. Isolated strains of Acanthamoeba were identification based on the morphology of trophic and cyst forms in addition to temperature and osmo-tolerance assays. Biochemical characterization of the isolated amoeba strains was performed using quantitative assay as well as qualitative determination of proteolytic activity in zymograph analysis. Results: Potentially pathogenic Acanthamoeba species were isolated from all of the examined water sources. Colorimetric assays showed protease activity in the heat-tolerant isolates of Acanthamoeba. All pathogenic isolates of Acanthamoeba exhibited higher protease activity than did the non-patho-genic ones. The zymographic protease assays showed various banding patterns for different strains of Acanthamoeba. Conclusion: The incidence and prevalence of the pathogenic Acanthamoeba species in the aquatic environment using parasitological and biochemical diagnostic tools will provide baseline data against which the risk factors associated with waterborne transmission can be identified.
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