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European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Isabel Stephany-Brassesco, Stefan Bereswill, Markus M. Heimesaat, and Matthias F. Melzig

Antibiotic resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae has risen to worrying levels in the past few decades worldwide, and subsequently, effective treatment of respiratory tract infections has become even more challenging. While the need to develop new strategies to combat bacterial infections is urgent, novel antibiotic compounds are no longer a priority of the pharmaceutical industry. However, resistance-modifying agents can alleviate the spread of antibiotic resistance and render existing antibiotics effective again. In the present study, we aimed to determine the combinatory antimicrobial effects of the commercial herbal product Cefabronchin® and antibiotic compounds, such as amoxicillin and clarithromycin, on 6 clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae. Therefore, the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of each agent before and after adding Cefabronchin® at different concentrations was determined by applying the checkerboard method. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of the added Cefabronchin® were found to reduce the MIC down to between 3.4% and 29.2% of the amoxicillin MIC and down to between 10.4% and 45.8% of the clarithromycin MIC in all 6 strains. In conclusion, this study provides evidence for the improved antimicrobial effects of commonly used antibiotics in combination with Cefabronchin® in order to combat infections with antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae strains.

Open access

Abstract

Biofouling is predicted to increase in the course of global warming, making the study and monitoring of its ecological and economic consequences of great importance. The present study describes, for the first time, recruitment and successional patterns of fouling communities in the Caspian Sea. During one year, short-term panels (STP; replaced every 2 months) and long-term panels (LTP; retrieved after 4, 8 and 12 months) were deployed in the Western Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea. Temporal trends in both sets of panels were evaluated through Generalized Additive Models and discussed in light of the environmental variables registered in each sampling event. Recruitment and successional patterns observed at the community level were mainly driven by barnacles and bryozoans, the dominant taxa over the entire sampling period. Panel coverage, biomass and inorganic to organic matter ratio exhibited clear seasonal patterns in STP, following temperature and chlorophyll a trends. In LTP, coverage and biomass increased over the study period, while the inorganic to organic matter ratio peaked in summer and decreased during autumn and winter months. These results represent a baseline for future studies on biofouling communities in the Caspian Sea, where this topic has been completely neglected.

Open access
Community Ecology
Authors: R. Olmo Gilabert, A. F. Navia, G. De La Cruz-Agüero, J. C. Molinero, U. Sommer, and M. Scotti

Abstract

Anthropic activities impact ecosystems worldwide thus contributing to the rapid erosion of biodiversity. The failure of traditional strategies targeting single species highlighted ecosystems as the most suitable scale to plan biodiversity management. Network analysis represents an ideal tool to model interactions in ecosystems and centrality indices have been extensively applied to quantify the structural and functional importance of species in food webs. However, many network studies fail in deciphering the ecological mechanisms that lead some species to occupy the most central positions in food webs. To address this question, we built a high-resolution food web of the Gulf of California and quantified species position using 15 centrality indices and the trophic level. We then modelled the values of each index as a function of traits and other attributes (e.g., habitat). We found that body size and mobility are the best predictors of indices that characterize species importance at local, meso- and global scale, especially in presence of data accounting for energy direction. This result extends previous findings that illustrated how a restricted set of traitaxes can predict whether two species interact in food webs. In particular, we show that traits can also help understanding the way species are affected by and mediate indirect effects. The traits allow focusing on the processes that shape the food web, rather than providing case-specific indications as the taxonomy-based approach. We suggest that future network studies should consider the traits to explicitly identify the causal relationships that link anthropic impacts to role changes of species in food webs.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Ralf Ignatius, Christiane Berg, Chris Weiland, Angela Darmer, Thilo Wenzel, Marion Lorenz, Jörg Fuhrmann, and Michael Müller

Stool antigen tests are recommended for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection. Here, we compared two novel assays, i.e., one enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and one immunochromatography assay (ICA), with a chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) that had previously been compared with rapid urease test, histology, and urea breath test. Two hundred sixty-six frozen stool samples with defined CLIA results (42 positives, 219 negatives, and 5 samples with borderline results) collected between January and May 2018 were thawed and immediately tested by EIA, ICA, and CLIA.

In 248 samples with repeatedly positive/negative CLIA results, EIA and ICA were positive for 40 and 37 of 41 CLIA-positive samples and yielded negative results for 206 and 201 of 207 CLIA-negative samples, respectively. There was a high positive percent agreement (EIA, 97.6%; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 86.3–100%; ICA, 90.2%; 95% CI, 76.9–96.7%), as well as a negative percent agreement between the assays (EIA, 99.5%; 95% CI, 97.0–100%; ICA, 97.1%; 95% CI, 93.7–98.8%). This was further supported by kappa values indicating very good agreement (CLIA vs. EIA, 0.971; CLIA vs. ICA, 0.857). In conclusion, both EIA and ICA comprise valuable assays for the detection of H. pylori antigen in stool samples.

Open access

Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are among the leading causes of gastroenteritis in humans worldwide, particularly in Africa. Poultry remains a major source of Campylobacter species and a vector of transmission to humans.

This pilot study was aimed at isolating and determining the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of Campylobacter spp. from fresh poultry droppings collected from poultry farms in Lagos State, Nigeria. Susceptibility was assessed using the CLSI standards.

Standard microbiological methods were used in isolation, identification, and characterization of Campylobacter spp. Isolates were subjected to antibiotic susceptibility testing by the disk diffusion method.

Of the 150 poultry droppings analyzed, 8 (5.3%) harbored Campylobacter spp. All isolates proved to be C. coli since they were all negative for the hip gene. A percentage of 100% showed resistance to nalidixic acid, chloramphenicol, cloxacillin, and streptomycin. While 87.5% were susceptible to amoxicillin and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, 62.5% were susceptible to tetracycline. Surprisingly, 62.5% of C. coli had decreased (intermediate) susceptibility to erythromycin.

Although there was a low prevalence of C. coli from poultry in this study, the presence of antibiotic resistant strains circulating the food chain could result in treatment failures and difficulty in case management if involved in infections of humans.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Abdelaziz Ed-Dra, Fouzia Rhazi Filali, Slimane Khayi, Said Oulghazi, Brahim Bouchrif, Abdellah El Allaoui, Bouchra Ouhmidou, and Mohieddine Moumni

Salmonella is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in humans worldwide, and the infection with multidrug-resistant strains can cause severe diseases. This study was designed to evaluate the antimicrobial resistance, to detect the virulence genes, and to study the genetic diversity of isolated Salmonella strains using 16S rRNA sequences. For this, 34 Salmonella strains isolated from sausages were identified using biochemical and serological methods. Molecular tools were used to evaluate the presence of virulence genes (orgA, sitC, sipB, spiA, iroN, and sifA) using simplex and multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and to sequence 16S rRNA genes for phylogenetic analysis. The susceptibility to 24 selected antibiotics was also studied. The results of this study showed that all isolated Salmonella were positive for targeted virulence genes and were resistant to at least one antibiotic. However, the multidrug resistance was observed in 44% of isolated strains. The phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences highlighted that Salmonella isolates were divided into 3 clusters and 3 sub-clusters, with a ≥98% similarity to Salmonella enterica species. From this study, we conclude that sausages are considered as a potential source of Salmonella, which could be a major risk to public health.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: E. Sapi, K. Gupta, K. Wawrzeniak, G. Gaur, J. Torres, K. Filush, A. Melillo, and B. Zelger

Our research group has recently shown that Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacterium, is capable of forming biofilms in Borrelia-infected human skin lesions called Borrelia lymphocytoma (BL). Biofilm structures often contain multiple organisms in a symbiotic relationship, with the goal of providing shelter from environmental stressors such as antimicrobial agents. Because multiple co-infections are common in Lyme disease, the main questions of this study were whether BL tissues contained other pathogenic species and/or whether there is any co-existence with Borrelia biofilms. Recent reports suggested Chlamydia-like organisms in ticks and Borrelia-infected human skin tissues; therefore, Chlamydia-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses were performed in Borrelia-positive BL tissues. Analyses of the sequence of the positive PCR bands revealed that Chlamydia spp. DNAs are indeed present in these tissues, and their sequences have the best identity match to Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Fluorescent immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization methods demonstrated the presence of Chlamydia antigen and DNA in 84% of Borrelia biofilms. Confocal microscopy revealed that Chlamydia locates in the center of Borrelia biofilms, and together, they form a well-organized mixed pathogenic structure. In summary, our study is the first to show BorreliaChlamydia mixed biofilms in infected human skin tissues, which raises the questions of whether these human pathogens have developed a symbiotic relationship for their mutual survival.

Open access
Biologia Futura
Authors: Kálmán Czeibert, Attila Andics, Örs Petneházy, and Enikő Kubinyi

Background and aims

Dogs have recently become an important model species for comparative social and cognitive neuroscience. Brain template-related label maps are essential for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data analysis, to localize neural responses. In this study, we present a detailed, individual-based, T1-weighted MRI-based brain label map used in dog neuroimaging analysis.

Methods

A typical, medium-headed dog (a 7.5-year-old male Golden Retriever) was selected from a cohort of 22 dogs, based on brain morphology (shape, size, and gyral pattern), to serve as the template for a label map.

Results

Eighty-six 3-dimensional labels were created to highlight the main cortical (cerebral gyri on the lateral and medial side) and subcortical (thalamus, caudate nucleus, amygdala, and hippocampus) structures of the prosencephalon and diencephalon, and further main parts of brainstem (mesencephalon and rhombencephalon).

Discussion

Importantly, this label map is (a) considerably more detailed than any available dog brain template; (b) it is easy to use with freeware and commercial neuroimaging software for MRI and fMRI analysis; and (c) it can be registered to other existing templates, including a recent average-based dog brain template. Using the coordinate system and label map proposed here can enhance precision and standard localization during future canine neuroimaging studies.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Matthias F. Emele, Matti Karg, Helmut Hotzel, Linda Graaf-van Bloois, Uwe Groß, Oliver Bader, and Andreas E. Zautner

Campylobacter fetus is a causative agent of intestinal illness and, occasionally, severe systemic infections and meningitis. C. fetus currently comprises three subspecies: C. fetus subspecies fetus (Cff), C. fetus subspecies venerealis (Cfv), and C. fetus subspecies testudinum (Cft). Cff and Cfv are primarily associated with mammals whereas Cft is associated with reptiles.

To offer an alternative to laborious sequence-based techniques such as multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-ribotyping for this species, the purpose of the study was to develop a typing scheme based on proteotyping.

In total, 41 representative C. fetus strains were analyzed by intact cell mass spectrometry and compared to MLST results. Biomarkers detected in the mass spectrum of C. fetus subsp. fetus reference strain LMG 6442 (NCTC 10842) as well as corresponding isoforms were associated with the respective amino acid sequences and added to the C. fetus proteotyping scheme.

In combination, the 9 identified biomarkers allow the differentiation of Cft subspecies strains from Cff and Cfv subspecies strains. Biomarkers to distinguish between Cff and Cfv were not found. The results of the study show the potential of proteotyping to differentiate different subspecies, but also the limitations of the method.

Open access
Biologia Futura
Authors: Ivaylo Borislavov Iotchev, Anna Egerer, Serena Grafe, András Adorján, and Enikő Kubinyi

Introduction

The aim of this study was to explore spontaneous social interactions between dyads of unfamiliar adult dogs. Although intraspecific encounters are frequent events in the life of pet dogs, the factors that might influence encounters, such as sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, age, and state of cohabitation (keeping the dogs singly or in groups), remained unexplored.

Methods

In this study, we assigned unfamiliar, non-aggressive dogs to three types of dyads defined by sex and size. We observed their unrestrained, spontaneous behaviors in an unfamiliar dog park, where only the two dogs, the owners, and experimenter were present.

Results

We found that the dogs, on average, spent only 17% of the time (less than 1 min) in proximity. Sex, dyad composition, reproductive status, and age influenced different aspects of the interactions in dyads. Female dogs were more likely to initiate the first contact in their dyad but later approached the partner less frequently, were less likely to move apart, and displayed less scent marking. Following and moving apart were more frequent in male–male interactions. Neutered dogs spent more time following the other dog and sniffed other dogs more frequently. The time companion dogs spent in proximity and number of approaches decreased with age.

Conclusion

The study provides guidance for dog owners about the outcomes of intraspecific encounters based on the dog’s age, sex, and reproductive status, as well as the sex of the interacting partner.

Open access