Authors:Carlos Florindo, Cinthia Alves Barroco, Inês Silvestre, Vera Damião, João Paulo Gomes, Barbara Spellerberg, Ilda Santos-Sanches, and Maria José Borrego
Extracellular deoxyribonucleases (DNases) contribute to the spread of pathogenic bacteria through the evasion from host innate immunity. Our main objective was to evaluate the production of extracellular DNases by human and bovine Streptococcus agalactiae clinical strains and perform a correlation of genetic lineages and DNase activity with capsular type, genetic determinants, clinical origin (colonization and infection), and host (human or bovine). DNase activity was evaluated by qualitative and quantitative assays for a collection of 406 human (n = 285) and bovine (n = 121) strains. All (121/121) bovine were isolated from mastitis and revealed to be DNase (+), indicating a putative pathogenic role in this clinical scenario. From the human S. agalactiae strains, 86% (245/285) showed DNase activity, among which all strains belonging to capsular types, namely, Ia, Ib, III-2, and IV. All CC17 strains (n = 58) and 56/96 (58.3%) of the CC19 displayed DNase activity. DNase (−) strains belonged to the CC19 group. However, the subcharacterization of CC19 S. agalactiae strains through multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), antibiotic resistance, mobile elements, and surface proteins did not provide any distinction among DNase producers and non-producers.
The production of DNases by all human CC17 strains, about two-fifths of human CC19, and all bovine strains, suggest an important contribution of DNases to hypervirulence.
Authors:Donata Grimm, Linn Woelber, Katharina Prieske, Barbara Schmalfeldt, Sascha Kürti, Chia-Jung Busch, Ingo Teudt, Oliver Brummer, Volkmar Mueller, and Thomas Meyer
A subgroup of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) are causally linked to infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HR-HPVs). To evaluate the prevalence of simultaneous oral HPV infection in females with cervical high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), tonsillar- and cervical smears were collected simultaneously from 73 patients and analyzed for HPV using two commercial assays, PapilloCheck (Greiner-Bio-One) and Linear Array (Roche). Only 3/73 (4.1%) tonsillar smears were HPV positive (HPV+), with HPV types 16, 35, and 45, respectively, detected by both assays (100% agreement). Concordant results were also found in 60/66 (91%) evaluable cervical smears. Of specimens, positive by both assays, typing results completely coincide in 71% (all types are identical) and partially coincide in 27% (at least one type is identical). Taken together, results of HPV detection and typing by PapilloCheck and Linear Array are highly congruent and confirm the low prevalence of HR-HPV in tonsillar smears of patients with HSIL of the uterine cervix. Our data indicate low prevalence of oropharyngeal HPV infection in patients with high-grade cervical dysplasia. The low detection rate was confirmed by using two different commercial assays with largely consistent results of HPV detection and typing, but with some variation for particular HPV types. Comparative testing of larger numbers is required to identify the HPV types prone to escape detection with particular assays.
Authors:Andreas Enz, Annett Klinder, Hannah Mittelmeier, Günther Kundt, Wolfram Mittelmeier, and Sarah Zaatreh
Introduction: To prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) during operation, the use of sterile surgical latex gloves is common. The aim of this study was to examine the damage of the gloves in surgeries with different mechanical stress and the influence on the kind of damages. Gloves were collected during primary arthroplasty, revision arthroplasty (hip and knee), and arthroscopy (shoulder, hip, and knee).
Materials and methods: Surgical latex operation gloves were collected from surgeons after the operation and were tested with watertightness test (ISO EN 455-1:2000).
Results: A total of 1460 surgical gloves were retrieved from 305 elective operations. On average, 15.9% of the gloves showed postoperative lesions, with the highest incidence occurring in revision arthroplasty with 25%. In primary and revision arthroplasty, the index finger of the dominant hand was most frequently affected (62.7% and 58.6%); in contrast, gloves from arthroscopies had most lesions on thumb and middle finger (42.9% each). Tear and perforation size differed from ≤1 mm to >5 mm, and primary and revision arthroplasty showed bigger damages.
Conclusions: Surgical gloves have a high malfunction, which increases with growing mechanical stress. A high rate of perforation occurred mostly in revision arthroplasty. Breaching the integrity of the gloves, especially by high mechanical loads, could lead to an increased rate of infection.
Authors:S. Ongaro, S. Martellos, G. Bacaro, A. De Agostini, A. Cogoni, and P. Cortis
The Mediterranean is one of the major biodiversity hotspots of the world. It has been identified as the “core” of the speciation process for many groups of organisms. It hosts an impressive number of species, many of which are classified as endangered taxa. Climate change in such a diverse context could heavily influence community composition, reducing ecosystems resistance and resilience. This study aims at depicting the distribution of nine orchid species in the island of Sardinia (Italy), and at forecasting their future distribution in consequence of climate change. The models were produced by following an “ensemble” approach. We analysed present and future (2070) niche for the nine species, using Land Use and Soil Type, as well as 8 bioclimatic variables as predictors, selected because of their influence on the fitness of these orchids. Climate change in the next years, at Mediterranean latitudes, is predicted to results mainly in an increase of temperature and a decrease of precipitation. In 2070, the general trend for almost all modelled taxa is the widening of the suitable areas. However, not always the newly gained areas have high probability of presence. A correct interpretation of environmental changes is needed for developing effective conservation strategies.
Authors:Annalena Reitz, Sven Poppert, Melanie Rieker, and Hagen Frickmann
Background: The study assessed a spectrum of previously published in-house fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) probes in a combined approach regarding their diagnostic performance with incubated blood culture materials.
Methods: Within a two-year interval, positive blood culture materials were assessed with Gram and FISH staining. Previously described and new FISH probes were combined to panels for Gram-positive cocci in grape-like clusters and in chains, as well as for Gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria. Covered pathogens comprised Staphylococcus spp., such as S. aureus, Micrococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., including E. faecium, E. faecalis, and E. gallinarum, Streptococcus spp., like S. pyogenes, S. agalactiae, and S. pneumoniae, Enterobacteriaceae, such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, and Bacteroides spp.
Results: A total of 955 blood culture materials were assessed with FISH. In 21 (2.2%) instances, FISH reaction led to non-interpretable results. With few exemptions, the tested FISH probes showed acceptable test characteristics even in the routine setting, with a sensitivity ranging from 28.6% (Bacteroides spp.) to 100% (6 probes) and a specificity of >95% in all instances.
Conclusion: If sophisticated rapid diagnostic methods like mass spectrometry from blood culture materials are not available, FISH provides an option for rapid differentiation for laboratories in resource-limited settings.
Research on wild bees (Apiformes) was conducted in the Lower Oder Valley (NW Poland) at Natura 2000 sites near the border between Poland and Germany. The analysis involved 3 landscape types with xerothermic and sandy grasslands, differing in the proportion of woody vegetation. In total, we collected there 4158 specimens of Apiformes, representing 180 species. We have proved that mid-forest grasslands with a high proportion of thermophilous broad-leaved forests and xerothermic shrub communities are equally attractive to wild bees as open habitats (sandy grasslands, xerothermic grasslands/heaths). We observed varied responses of wild bee species with specific functional characteristics to increasing proportion of woody vegetation. The grasslands surrounded by forests were characterized by the highest number of cleptoparasitic species. In contrast, solitary and social bee species preferred forest-steppe habitats. However, in open habitats, solitary bees were the most abundant. Moreover, open habitats were distinguished by the highest number and abundance of rare species. Active protection of thermophilous grasslands is crucial for biodiversity conservation, also with respect to the natural resources of Apiformes. Preservation of biodiversity in threatened xerothermic and sandy grasslands should be one of the key objectives of nature conservation in European countries. Currently, more and more actions are undertaken to improve their condition and to restore those particularly valuable and threatened habitat types.
Authors:Hagen Frickmann, Caroline Klenk, Philipp Warnke, Sylvio Redanz, and Andreas Podbielski
Background: The effects of cell-free culture supernatants of probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Streptococcus salivarius K12 on replication and biofilm forming of Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis were assessed in vitro.
Methods: S. aureus and S. epidermidis strains were exposed to cell-free culture supernatants of L. rhamnosus GG and S. salivarius K12 at different concentrations starting at 0, 4, and 24 h after the onset of incubation. Bacterial amplification was measured on microplate readers, as well as biofilm growth after safranine staining. Scanning electron microscopy was performed for visualization of biofilm status.
Results: The S. salivarius K12 culture supernatant not only reduced or prevented the formation and maturation of fresh biofilms but even caused a reduction of preformed S. epidermidis biofilms. The L. rhamnosus GG culture supernatant did not show clear inhibitory effects regardless of concentration or time of addition of supernatant, and even concentration-depending promotional effects on the planktonic and biofilm growth of S. aureus and S. epidermidis were observed.
Conclusion: In particular, the inhibitory effects of the S. salivarius K12 culture supernatant on the formation of staphylococcal biofilms are of potential relevance for biofilm-associated diseases and should be further assessed by in vivo infection models.
Authors:Hans Kollenda, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Miriam Hanke, Sandra Rojak, Rebecca Hinz, Lars Wassill, Sven Poppert, Egbert Tannich, and Hagen Frickmann
Background: The objective of this study was to assess an in-house loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) platform for malaria parasite detection and identification on species level.
Methods: LAMP primers specific for the human Plasmodium spp., namely, P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi, as well as genus-specific primers, were tested against a composite gold standard comprising microscopy from thick and thin blood films, commercial genus-specific Meridian illumigene Malaria LAMP, in-house real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and commercial fast-track diagnostics (FTD) Malaria differentiation PCR.
Results: Of the 523 blood samples analyzed, the composite gold standard indicated 243 Plasmodium-species-DNA-containing samples (46.5%). Sensitivity and specificity of the analyzed genus- and species-specific LAMP primers were 71.0%–100.0% and 90.8%–100.0%, respectively. The influence of parasitemia was best documented for P. falciparum-specific LAMP with sensitivity values of 35.5% (22/62) for microscopically negative samples containing P. falciparum DNA, 50% (19/38) for parasitemia ≤50/μL, 84% (21/25) for parasitemia ≤500/μL, and 100% (92/92) for parasitemia >500/μL.
Conclusions: In our hands, performance characteristics of species-specific in-house LAMP for malaria lack reliability required for diagnostic laboratories. The use of the easy-to-apply technique for surveillance purposes may be considered.
Authors:A.F.S. Garcia, A.M. Garcia, S.R. Vollrath, F. Schneck, C.F.M. Silva, Í.J. Marchetti, and J.P. Vieira
Food partitioning among coexisting species in different habitats remains an important research topic in trophic ecology. In this work, we combined carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios and stomach content analyses to investigate differences in diet and niche overlap of two congeneric juvenile mullet species (Mugil curema and Mugil liza) coexisting in a marine surf-zone and an estuarine zone in southern Brazil (29oS). These habitats have contrasting levels of food availability, especially in terms of prey diversity, with higher microalgae diversity in the estuary than in the marine surf-zone. In these contrasting conditions, we predicted that both mullet species will have (a) higher niche overlap and smaller niche breadth at the marine surf-zone due to the common exploration of highly abundant surf-zone diatoms and (b) lower niche overlap and higher niche breadth inside the estuary due to selective feeding on more diverse food resources. Isotope niche areas (measured as standard ellipse areas) were higher in the estuary (6.10 and 6.18) than in the marine surf-zone (3.68 and 3.37) for both M. curema and M. liza, respectively. We observed an overlap of 52% in isotopic niches of both species in the marine surf-zone and none in the estuary. We also found contrasting patterns in the diet composition between species according to the habitat. At the marine surfzone, diatoms of the classes Bacillariophyceae and Coscinodiscophyceae dominated (> 99%) the food content of both mullet species. In contrast, green algae, cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates and flagellates comprised the diet of both species in the estuary. These results could be explained by spatial differences in food availability (especially regarding diversity of microalgae) between both habitats. At the marine site, both species explored the most abundant microalgae available (mostly the surf-zone diatom Asterionellopsis cf. guyunusae and fragments of Coscinodiscus), whereas in the estuary both species shifted their diets to explore the greater diversity of microalgae resources. Overall, our findings revealed that niche partitioning theory could not fully predict changes in breadth and overlap of food niches of estuarine dependent fish species with complex life cycles encompassing marine to estuarine systems with contrasting food availabilities.
Authors:Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Luis Francisco Sánchez-Anguiano, Jesús Hernández-Tinoco, Agar Ramos-Nevarez, Sergio Estrada-Martínez, Sandra Margarita Cerrillo-Soto, Miriam Alejandra Mijarez-Hernández, Carlos Alberto Guido-Arreola, Alma Rosa Pérez-Álamos, Isabel Beristain-Garcia, and Elizabeth Rábago-Sánchez
We determined the association between having a history of surgery and the seroreactivity to T. gondii. An age- and gender-matched case-control study of 391 subjects with a history of surgery and 391 subjects without this history was performed. Sera of subjects were analyzed for detection of anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) antibodies using enzyme-linked immunoassays. Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in 25 (6.4%) of the 391 cases and in 21 (5.4%) of the 391 controls (odds ratio [OR] = 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66–2.18; P = 0.54). The frequency of cases with high IgG antibody levels (10/25: 40.0%) was equal to that found in controls (8/21: 38.1%) (OR = 1.08; 95% CI: 0.32–3.56; P = 0.89). Of the 25 anti-T. gondii IgG antibody seropositive cases, 5 (16.0%) were also positive for anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies. Meanwhile, of the 21 anti-T. gondii IgG antibody seropositive controls, 4 (19.0%) were also positive for anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies (OR = 0.81; 95% CI: 0.17–3.72; P = 0.80). Logistic regression showed that only the variable “hysterectomy” was associated with T. gondii seropositivity (OR = 4.6; 95% CI: 1.6–13.4; P = 0.005). Results suggest that having a history of surgery is not an important risk factor for infection with T. gondii. However, the link between T. gondii infection and hysterectomy should be further investigated.