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Volume 71 (2022): Issue 4 (December 2022)

Volume 71 (2022): Issue 3 (September 2022)

Volume 71 (2022): Issue 2 (June 2022)

Volume 71 (2022): Issue 1 (March 2022)

Volume 70 (2021): Issue 4 (December 2021)

Volume 70 (2021): Issue 3 (September 2021)

Volume 70 (2021): Issue 2 (June 2021)

Volume 70 (2021): Issue 1 (March 2021)

Volume 69 (2020): Issue 4 (December 2020)

Volume 69 (2020): Issue 3 (September 2020)

Volume 69 (2020): Issue 2 (June 2020)

Volume 69 (2020): Issue 1 (March 2020)

Volume 68 (2019): Issue 4 (January 2019)

Volume 68 (2019): Issue 3 (September 2019)

Volume 68 (2019): Issue 2 (June 2019)

Volume 68 (2019): Issue 1 (March 2019)

Volume 67 (2018): Issue 4 (December 2018)

Volume 67 (2018): Issue 3 (September 2018)

Volume 67 (2018): Issue 2 (June 2018)

Volume 67 (2018): Issue 1 (January 2018)

Volume 66 (2017): Issue 4 (December 2017)

Volume 66 (2017): Issue 3 (September 2017)

Volume 66 (2017): Issue 2 (June 2017)

Volume 66 (2017): Issue 1 (March 2017)

Volume 65 (2016): Issue 4 (December 2016)

Volume 65 (2016): Issue 3 (August 2016)

Volume 65 (2016): Issue 2 (June 2016)

Volume 65 (2016): Issue 1 (March 2016)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
2544-4646
First Published
04 Mar 1952
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 71 (2022): Issue 4 (December 2022)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
2544-4646
First Published
04 Mar 1952
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Search

12 Articles

Minireview

Open Access

Rapid and Simple Approaches for Diagnosis of Staphylococcus aureus in Bloodstream Infections

Published Online: 09 Dec 2022
Page range: 481 - 489

Abstract

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is an important causative pathogen of bloodstream infections. An amplification assay such as real-time PCR is a sensitive, specific technique to detect S. aureus. However, it needs well-trained personnel, and costs are high. A literature review focusing on rapid and simple methods for diagnosing S. aureus was performed. The following methods were included: (a) Hybrisep in situ hybridization test, (b) T2Dx system, (c) BinaxNow Staphylococcus aureus and PBP2a, (d) Gram staining, (e) PNA FISH and QuickFISH, (f) Accelerate PhenoTM system, (g) MALDI-TOF MS, (h) BioFire FilmArray, (i) Xpert MRSA/SA. These rapid and simple methods can rapidly identify S. aureus in positive blood cultures or direct blood samples. Furthermore, BioFire FilmArray and Xpert MRSA/SA identify methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and the Accelerate PhenoTM system can also provide antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) results. The rapidity and simplicity of results generated by these methods have the potential to improve patient outcomes and aid in the prevention of the emergence and transmission of MRSA.

Keywords

  • bloodstream infections
  • rapid diagnostics
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • bacteremia

Original Paper

Open Access

Screening of Toxin Genes in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Isolates from a Hospital Setting in a Tertiary Hospital in Northern Cyprus

Published Online: 12 Nov 2022
Page range: 491 - 497

Abstract

Abstract

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant opportunistic pathogen with a wide repertoire of virulence characteristics. Data regarding the molecular profile of MRSA in Northern Cyprus is limited. The current study aimed to examine the virulence profiles of MRSA with a focus on toxin-associated factors. Ninety-one S. aureus isolates collected at a university hospital were included in the study. Identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing were performed with BD Phoenix™ automated system. Methicillin resistance was evaluated by the disc diffusion assay and mecA detection. The presence of nuc was confirmed by conventional PCR. Confirmed MRSA isolates were assessed for the presence of virulence genes hla, eta, etb, etd and tst using molecular methods. Among 91 S. aureus isolates identified as MRSA using the BD Phoenix™ platform, 80.85% (n = 76/91) were confirmed as MRSA using phenotypic and genotypic methods. All confirmed MRSA isolates (n = 76, 100%) were positive for the nuc. MRSA rates were statistically higher in elderly inpatients. The prevalence of toxin-encoding genes was 97.3% (n = 74/76) for hla, 2.63% (n = 2/76) for eta, 1.3% (n = 1/76) for etb, and 2.63% (n = 2/76) for tst. None of the screened isolates harbored the etd gene. These results represent the first report to investigate multiple virulence factors in MRSA isolates in Northern Cyprus.

Keywords

  • methicillin-resistant
  • toxins
  • virulence
  • Northern Cyprus
Open Access

Evaluation of Cell-Free DNA-Based Next-Generation Sequencing for Identifying Pathogens in Bacteremia Patients

Published Online: 12 Nov 2022
Page range: 499 - 507

Abstract

Abstract

Rapid detection of bloodstream pathogens would greatly facilitate clinicians to make precise antimicrobial treatment in patients with bacteremia. In this study, 114 plasma samples were collected from patients with identified or suspected bacteremia, and pathogens were detected by the conventional blood culture (BC) and cell-free DNA metagenomics next-generation sequencing (cfDNA mNGS). The present study indicated that 76% (38/50) of positive conventional blood culture (BC+ group) patients were positively detected by cfDNA mNGS, and only 4% were mismatched between cfDNA mNGS and conventional bacteria culture. Pathogens in 32.8% of suspected bacteremia patients with negative conventional blood culture (BC group) were determined accurately by cfDNA mNGS combined with analyzing the patients’ clinical manifestations. Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were the most detected pathogens in identified bacteremia patients by cfDNA mNGS. 76.2% (16/21) of E. coli and 92.3% (12/13) of K. pneumoniae in bacteremia patients were identified by conventional blood cultures that were also detected by cfDNA mNGS. This study demonstrated that genomic coverage of E. coli and K. pneumoniae were more often detected in BC+ group patients and genomic coverage of Acinetobacter johnsonii and Paucibacter sp. KCTC 42545 was more often detected in BC group patients. In conclusion, cfDNA mNGS could rapidly and precisely provide an alternative detection method for the diagnosis of bacteremia.

Keywords

  • cell-free DNA
  • next-generation sequencing
  • bacteremia
  • blood culture
  • pathogens
Open Access

Retrospective Analysis of the Ureaplasma spp. Prevalence with Reference to Other Genital Tract Infections in Women of Reproductive Age

Published Online: 20 Nov 2022
Page range: 509 - 518

Abstract

Abstract

Ureaplasma spp. are frequently isolated from the genital tract of women of reproductive age. To date, it remains unclear whether they are commensal or pathogenic. In our study, we assessed the prevalence of Ureaplasma spp. in a group of 1,155 women of childbearing age. In addition, we assessed how often women with positive Ureaplasma spp. develop genital tract co-infections and how the vaginal pH changes. This study showed a relationship between colonization by Ureaplasma spp. and presenting symptoms. In fact, we showed that colonization of the genital tract by Ureaplasma spp. can affect the occurrence of co-infections such as Gardnerella vaginalis. We also observed a relationship between increased pH values and the presence of Ureaplasma spp.

Keywords

  • female genital tract microbiota
  • spp.
  • bacterial vaginosis
  • vaginal infections
Open Access

The Emergence of Colistin- and Imipenem-Associated Multidrug Resistance in Escherichia coli Isolates from Retail Meat

Published Online: 06 Dec 2022
Page range: 519 - 528

Abstract

Abstract

To determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli and their drug resistance profiles in fresh pork sold at two retail outlets (open-air market and closed retail stores) in Alice, South Africa. Retail meat samples (n = 176) collected from four shops (two from open-air markets and two from closed stores) were analyzed by conventional biochemical and PCR-based molecular confirmatory tests. The confirmed isolates were profiled for antimicrobial susceptibility to a panel of 12 commercial antibiotics: tetracycline, ampicillin, sulphamethoxazole trimethoprim, erythromycin, gentamycin, colistin sulphate, cefotaxime, chloramphenicol, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, cefuroxime, and imipenem. Colistin, ampicillin, and erythromycin resistance genes were profiled with the gene-specific primers. Multidrug resistance (MDR) and the association of imipenem and colistin in the MDR profile were determined. A total of 68 (39.08%) E. coli isolates were confirmed by PCR analysis. Resistance was most common to erythromycin (100%), followed by cefotaxime (95.58%), ampicillin (88.23%), cefuroxime (88.23%), trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (88.23%), and tetracycline (60.29%). Overall, 27/68 (39.70%) were MDR (≥ 3antibiotics classes). MDR E. coli isolates associated with imipenem resistance (50.00%) and colistin resistance (33.82%) were detected. The resistance genes were detected among the isolates though not in all the phenotypically resistant isolates. The detection of colistin resistance among MDR E. coli isolates from retail meat is troubling as the drug is a last resort antibiotic. Overall, the epidemiological implications of the findings are of public health importance.

Keywords

  • pork
  • multiple antibiotic resistance
  • susceptibility
  • retail outlet
  • colistin resistance
  • imipenem resistance
Open Access

Production and Quantification of Virulence Factors in Malassezia Species

Published Online: 06 Dec 2022
Page range: 529 - 538

Abstract

Abstract

Seventy-seven strains of Malassezia were included in this study. Biofilm and hydrolytic enzyme production were studied by using specific solid media. The Real-Time reverse transcriptase qPCR method was applied to determine the overexpression of genes encoding the extracellular enzymes. All included Malassezia species produced biofilms. No statistically significant difference was observed between Malassezia species in biofilm formation (p = 0.567). All Malassezia species produced lipase, and 95% of Malassezia globosa showed a strong enzymatic activity (Pz = 0.55 ± 0.02). A statistically significant difference was observed between the mean keratinase indices of Malassezia slooffiae and the other Malassezia species (p = 0.005). The overexpression of one or more genes was observed in 100% of strains isolated from patients with folliculitis, 87.5% – with pityriasis versicolor, and 57.14% of the control group isolates. A statistically significant difference in the lipase gene expression (p = 0.042) was between the strains from patients with folliculitis and the control group. This investigation provides more information about the frequency of the production of the major enzymes considered virulence factors of Malassezia species. Interestingly, the overexpression of one or more genes was observed in strains isolated from patients with Malassezia disorders.

Keywords

  • Real-Time qRT-PCR
  • virulence factors
  • extracellular hydrolases
  • biofilm
Open Access

Ciliated Peritrichous Protozoa in a Tezontle-Packed Sequencing Batch Reactor as Potential Indicators of Water Quality

Published Online: 10 Dec 2022
Page range: 539 - 551

Abstract

Abstract

The presence of colonial and solitary ciliated peritrichous protozoa was determined in a Sequencing Batch Reactor system filled with tezontle, a volcanic rock, economic, and abundant material that can be found in some parts of the world, like Mexico. The presence of these protozoa was related to the removal efficiencies of organic matter. Also, two novel staining techniques are proposed for staining both colonial and solitary peritrichous protozoa. The results show that tezontle promotes the growth of solitary and colonial ciliated peritrichous protozoa, which, once identified, could be used as indicators of the efficiency of the wastewater treatment process. Additionally, the staining techniques established in the current study allowed the precise observation of protozoan nuclei. They can represent a useful complementary methodology for identifying protozoan species present in water treatment processes, along with the already existing identification techniques. The number and variety of protozoa found in the system may be considered potential bioindicators of water quality during biological treatments.

Keywords

  • peritrichous protozoa
  • sessile ciliates
  • Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR)
  • tezontle
  • protozoan staining techniques
Open Access

In Vivo Efficacy of Bacillus velezensis Isolated from Korean Gochang Bokbunja Vinegar against Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Infections

Published Online: 12 Dec 2022
Page range: 553 - 562

Abstract

Abstract

Outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), especially Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), are commonly reported as severe infections in hospitals and long-term care settings, and their occurrence is increasing globally. Conventional antibiotics used for treating CRE have become ineffective due to resistance development. Furthermore, their safety issues restrict their availability and use for CRE treatment. Therefore, developing new drugs different from existing drugs to combat this deadly menace is urgently needed. Probiotics can be a potential option in this context, as probiotics’ efficacy against a variety of infectious illnesses has already been well established. Here, we report the effect of the Bacillus velezensis strain isolated from Gochang Bokbunja vinegar in Korea on CRE infection using two mouse models. Data showed that pretreatment with B. velezensis significantly reduced body weight loss and mortality of CRKP-infected mice in the preventive model. The oral administration of B. velezensis in a therapeutic model also decreased the mortality and illness severity in CRKP-infected mice. Moreover, a two-week oral acute toxicity assay in guinea pigs did not reveal any aberrant clinical signs. Our findings demonstrate the potential effectiveness of our candidate probiotic strain, B. velezensis, against CRKP, suggesting that it could be used as an antimicrobial agent for treating CRKP-related infections.

Keywords

  • carbapenem-resistant (CRE)
  • Gochang Bokbunja vinegar
  • probiotics
Open Access

Isolation, Identification, and Fermentation Medium Optimization of a Caproic Acid‑Producing Enterococcus casseliflavus Strain from Pit Mud of Chinese Strong Flavor Baijiu Ecosystem

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 563 - 575

Abstract

Abstract

Caproic acid is the precursor material of ethyl hexanoate, a representative flavor substance in strong flavor baijiu (SFB). Increasing the content of caproic acid in SFB helps to improve its quality. In the present study, caproic acid-producing bacteria from the pit mud of an SFB ecosystem were isolated, purified, and characterized. Strain BF-1 with the highest caproic acid yield (0.88 g/l) was selected. The morphological and molecular identification analysis showed that strain BF-1 was Enterococcus casseliflavus. The genome of E. casseliflavus BF-1 was sequenced and was found to be 2,968,377 bp in length with 3,270 open reading frames (ORFs). The caproic acid biosynthesis pathway in E. casseliflavus BF-1 was predicted based on the KAAS annotation. The virulence factors in the genome of strain BF-1 were annotated, which showed that E. casseliflavus BF-1 is safe at the genetic level. After adding essential nutrients based on the KAAS annotation, the optimum medium conditions for acid production by strain BF-1 were obtained by performing orthogonal experiments. The caproic acid yield of strain BF-1 reached 3.03 g/l, which was 3.44-fold higher than the initial yield. The optimized fer-

mentation of caproic acid production by BF-1 was reported for the first time. The strain could be further used to regulate the ecosystem in baijiu production to improve its quality.

Keywords

  • baijiu
  • caproic acid
  • genome sequencing
  • fermentation optimization
Open Access

Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variants in an In Silico Genomic Comparison Study with the Original Wuhan Strain and WHO-Recognized Variants of Concern

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 577 - 587

Abstract

Abstract

This study aimed to determine the genetic alterations in the Omicron variants compared to other variants of concern (VOCs) to trace the evolutionary genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 variants responsible for the multiple COVID-19 waves globally. The present study is an in silico analysis determining the evolution of selected 11 VOCs compared to the original Wuhan strain. The variants included six Omicrons and one variant of Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Mu. The pairwise alignment with the local alignment search tool of NCBI Nucleotide-BLAST and NCBI Protein-BLAST were used to determine the nucleotide base changes and corresponding amino acid changes in proteins, respectively. The genomic analysis revealed 210 nucleotide changes; most of these changes (127/210, 60.5%) were non-synonymous mutations that occurred mainly in the S gene (52/127, 40.1%). The remaining 10.5% (22/210) and 1.9% (4/210) of the mutations were frameshift deletions and frameshift insertions, respectively. The frameshift insertion (Ins22194T T22195G) led to frameshift deletion (Δ211N). Only four mutations (C241T, C3037T, C14408T, and A23403G) were shared among all the VOCs. The nucleotide changes among Omicron variants resulted in 61 amino acid changes, while the nucleotide changes in other VOCs showed 11 amino acid changes. The present study showed that most mutations (38/61, 62.3%) among Omicron variants occurred in the S gene; and 34.2% of them (13/38) occurred in the receptor-binding domain. The present study confirmed that most of mutations developed by Omicron variants occurred in the vaccine target gene (S gene).

Keywords

  • Omicron
  • VOCs
  • Nucleotide-BLAST
  • Protein-BLAST
Open Access

Molecular Characterization of Aspergillus flavus Strains Isolated from Animal Feeds

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 589 - 599

Abstract

Abstract

Aflatoxin (AF)-producing fungi such as Aspergillus flavus commonly contaminate animal feeds, causing high economic losses. A. flavus is the most prevalent and produces AFB1, a potent mutagen, and carcinogen threatening human and animal health. Aspergillaceae is a large group of closely related fungi sharing number of morphological and genetic similarities that complicate the diagnosis of highly pathogenic strains. We used here morphological and molecular assays to characterize fungal isolates from animal feeds in Southwestern Algeria. These tools helped to identify 20 out of 30 Aspergillus strains, and 15 of them belonged to the Aspergillus section Flavi. Further analyses detected four out of 15 as belonging to Aspergillus flavus-parasiticus group. PCR targeting the AF genes’ aflR-aflS(J) intergenic region amplified a single 674 bp amplicon in all four isolates. The amplicons were digested with a BglII endonuclease, and three specific fragments were observed for A. flavus but A. parasitucus lacked two typical fragments. Sequencing data of four amplicons confirmed the presence of the two BglII restriction sites yielding the three fragments, confirming that all four strains were A. flavus. In addition, this analysis illustrated the genetic variability within the A. flavus strains.

Keywords

  • IGS
  • PCR-RFLP
  • diagnosis tools
Open Access

Characterization of Fecal Microbiomes of Osteoporotic Patients in Korea

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 601 - 613

Abstract

Abstract

An imbalanced gut microbiome has been linked to a higher risk of many bone-related diseases. The objective of this study was to discover biomarkers of osteoporosis (OP). So, we collected 76 stool samples (60 human controls and 16 OP patients), extracted DNA, and performed 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene-based amplicon sequencing. Among the taxa with an average taxonomic composition greater than 1%, only the Lachnospira genus showed a significant difference between the two groups. The Linear Discriminant Effect Size analysis and qPCR experiments indicated the Lachnospira genus as a potential biomarker of OP. Moreover, a total of 11 metabolic pathways varied between the two groups. Our study concludes that the genus Lachnospira is potentially crucial for diagnosing and treating osteoporosis. The findings of this study might help researchers better understand OP from a microbiome perspective. This research might develop more effective diagnostic and treatment methods for OP in the future.

Keywords

  • osteoporosis
  • microbiomes
  • gut microbiota
  • fecal microbiomes
  • 16S rRNA gene-based metagenomics
12 Articles

Minireview

Open Access

Rapid and Simple Approaches for Diagnosis of Staphylococcus aureus in Bloodstream Infections

Published Online: 09 Dec 2022
Page range: 481 - 489

Abstract

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is an important causative pathogen of bloodstream infections. An amplification assay such as real-time PCR is a sensitive, specific technique to detect S. aureus. However, it needs well-trained personnel, and costs are high. A literature review focusing on rapid and simple methods for diagnosing S. aureus was performed. The following methods were included: (a) Hybrisep in situ hybridization test, (b) T2Dx system, (c) BinaxNow Staphylococcus aureus and PBP2a, (d) Gram staining, (e) PNA FISH and QuickFISH, (f) Accelerate PhenoTM system, (g) MALDI-TOF MS, (h) BioFire FilmArray, (i) Xpert MRSA/SA. These rapid and simple methods can rapidly identify S. aureus in positive blood cultures or direct blood samples. Furthermore, BioFire FilmArray and Xpert MRSA/SA identify methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and the Accelerate PhenoTM system can also provide antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) results. The rapidity and simplicity of results generated by these methods have the potential to improve patient outcomes and aid in the prevention of the emergence and transmission of MRSA.

Keywords

  • bloodstream infections
  • rapid diagnostics
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • bacteremia

Original Paper

Open Access

Screening of Toxin Genes in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Isolates from a Hospital Setting in a Tertiary Hospital in Northern Cyprus

Published Online: 12 Nov 2022
Page range: 491 - 497

Abstract

Abstract

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant opportunistic pathogen with a wide repertoire of virulence characteristics. Data regarding the molecular profile of MRSA in Northern Cyprus is limited. The current study aimed to examine the virulence profiles of MRSA with a focus on toxin-associated factors. Ninety-one S. aureus isolates collected at a university hospital were included in the study. Identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing were performed with BD Phoenix™ automated system. Methicillin resistance was evaluated by the disc diffusion assay and mecA detection. The presence of nuc was confirmed by conventional PCR. Confirmed MRSA isolates were assessed for the presence of virulence genes hla, eta, etb, etd and tst using molecular methods. Among 91 S. aureus isolates identified as MRSA using the BD Phoenix™ platform, 80.85% (n = 76/91) were confirmed as MRSA using phenotypic and genotypic methods. All confirmed MRSA isolates (n = 76, 100%) were positive for the nuc. MRSA rates were statistically higher in elderly inpatients. The prevalence of toxin-encoding genes was 97.3% (n = 74/76) for hla, 2.63% (n = 2/76) for eta, 1.3% (n = 1/76) for etb, and 2.63% (n = 2/76) for tst. None of the screened isolates harbored the etd gene. These results represent the first report to investigate multiple virulence factors in MRSA isolates in Northern Cyprus.

Keywords

  • methicillin-resistant
  • toxins
  • virulence
  • Northern Cyprus
Open Access

Evaluation of Cell-Free DNA-Based Next-Generation Sequencing for Identifying Pathogens in Bacteremia Patients

Published Online: 12 Nov 2022
Page range: 499 - 507

Abstract

Abstract

Rapid detection of bloodstream pathogens would greatly facilitate clinicians to make precise antimicrobial treatment in patients with bacteremia. In this study, 114 plasma samples were collected from patients with identified or suspected bacteremia, and pathogens were detected by the conventional blood culture (BC) and cell-free DNA metagenomics next-generation sequencing (cfDNA mNGS). The present study indicated that 76% (38/50) of positive conventional blood culture (BC+ group) patients were positively detected by cfDNA mNGS, and only 4% were mismatched between cfDNA mNGS and conventional bacteria culture. Pathogens in 32.8% of suspected bacteremia patients with negative conventional blood culture (BC group) were determined accurately by cfDNA mNGS combined with analyzing the patients’ clinical manifestations. Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were the most detected pathogens in identified bacteremia patients by cfDNA mNGS. 76.2% (16/21) of E. coli and 92.3% (12/13) of K. pneumoniae in bacteremia patients were identified by conventional blood cultures that were also detected by cfDNA mNGS. This study demonstrated that genomic coverage of E. coli and K. pneumoniae were more often detected in BC+ group patients and genomic coverage of Acinetobacter johnsonii and Paucibacter sp. KCTC 42545 was more often detected in BC group patients. In conclusion, cfDNA mNGS could rapidly and precisely provide an alternative detection method for the diagnosis of bacteremia.

Keywords

  • cell-free DNA
  • next-generation sequencing
  • bacteremia
  • blood culture
  • pathogens
Open Access

Retrospective Analysis of the Ureaplasma spp. Prevalence with Reference to Other Genital Tract Infections in Women of Reproductive Age

Published Online: 20 Nov 2022
Page range: 509 - 518

Abstract

Abstract

Ureaplasma spp. are frequently isolated from the genital tract of women of reproductive age. To date, it remains unclear whether they are commensal or pathogenic. In our study, we assessed the prevalence of Ureaplasma spp. in a group of 1,155 women of childbearing age. In addition, we assessed how often women with positive Ureaplasma spp. develop genital tract co-infections and how the vaginal pH changes. This study showed a relationship between colonization by Ureaplasma spp. and presenting symptoms. In fact, we showed that colonization of the genital tract by Ureaplasma spp. can affect the occurrence of co-infections such as Gardnerella vaginalis. We also observed a relationship between increased pH values and the presence of Ureaplasma spp.

Keywords

  • female genital tract microbiota
  • spp.
  • bacterial vaginosis
  • vaginal infections
Open Access

The Emergence of Colistin- and Imipenem-Associated Multidrug Resistance in Escherichia coli Isolates from Retail Meat

Published Online: 06 Dec 2022
Page range: 519 - 528

Abstract

Abstract

To determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli and their drug resistance profiles in fresh pork sold at two retail outlets (open-air market and closed retail stores) in Alice, South Africa. Retail meat samples (n = 176) collected from four shops (two from open-air markets and two from closed stores) were analyzed by conventional biochemical and PCR-based molecular confirmatory tests. The confirmed isolates were profiled for antimicrobial susceptibility to a panel of 12 commercial antibiotics: tetracycline, ampicillin, sulphamethoxazole trimethoprim, erythromycin, gentamycin, colistin sulphate, cefotaxime, chloramphenicol, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, cefuroxime, and imipenem. Colistin, ampicillin, and erythromycin resistance genes were profiled with the gene-specific primers. Multidrug resistance (MDR) and the association of imipenem and colistin in the MDR profile were determined. A total of 68 (39.08%) E. coli isolates were confirmed by PCR analysis. Resistance was most common to erythromycin (100%), followed by cefotaxime (95.58%), ampicillin (88.23%), cefuroxime (88.23%), trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (88.23%), and tetracycline (60.29%). Overall, 27/68 (39.70%) were MDR (≥ 3antibiotics classes). MDR E. coli isolates associated with imipenem resistance (50.00%) and colistin resistance (33.82%) were detected. The resistance genes were detected among the isolates though not in all the phenotypically resistant isolates. The detection of colistin resistance among MDR E. coli isolates from retail meat is troubling as the drug is a last resort antibiotic. Overall, the epidemiological implications of the findings are of public health importance.

Keywords

  • pork
  • multiple antibiotic resistance
  • susceptibility
  • retail outlet
  • colistin resistance
  • imipenem resistance
Open Access

Production and Quantification of Virulence Factors in Malassezia Species

Published Online: 06 Dec 2022
Page range: 529 - 538

Abstract

Abstract

Seventy-seven strains of Malassezia were included in this study. Biofilm and hydrolytic enzyme production were studied by using specific solid media. The Real-Time reverse transcriptase qPCR method was applied to determine the overexpression of genes encoding the extracellular enzymes. All included Malassezia species produced biofilms. No statistically significant difference was observed between Malassezia species in biofilm formation (p = 0.567). All Malassezia species produced lipase, and 95% of Malassezia globosa showed a strong enzymatic activity (Pz = 0.55 ± 0.02). A statistically significant difference was observed between the mean keratinase indices of Malassezia slooffiae and the other Malassezia species (p = 0.005). The overexpression of one or more genes was observed in 100% of strains isolated from patients with folliculitis, 87.5% – with pityriasis versicolor, and 57.14% of the control group isolates. A statistically significant difference in the lipase gene expression (p = 0.042) was between the strains from patients with folliculitis and the control group. This investigation provides more information about the frequency of the production of the major enzymes considered virulence factors of Malassezia species. Interestingly, the overexpression of one or more genes was observed in strains isolated from patients with Malassezia disorders.

Keywords

  • Real-Time qRT-PCR
  • virulence factors
  • extracellular hydrolases
  • biofilm
Open Access

Ciliated Peritrichous Protozoa in a Tezontle-Packed Sequencing Batch Reactor as Potential Indicators of Water Quality

Published Online: 10 Dec 2022
Page range: 539 - 551

Abstract

Abstract

The presence of colonial and solitary ciliated peritrichous protozoa was determined in a Sequencing Batch Reactor system filled with tezontle, a volcanic rock, economic, and abundant material that can be found in some parts of the world, like Mexico. The presence of these protozoa was related to the removal efficiencies of organic matter. Also, two novel staining techniques are proposed for staining both colonial and solitary peritrichous protozoa. The results show that tezontle promotes the growth of solitary and colonial ciliated peritrichous protozoa, which, once identified, could be used as indicators of the efficiency of the wastewater treatment process. Additionally, the staining techniques established in the current study allowed the precise observation of protozoan nuclei. They can represent a useful complementary methodology for identifying protozoan species present in water treatment processes, along with the already existing identification techniques. The number and variety of protozoa found in the system may be considered potential bioindicators of water quality during biological treatments.

Keywords

  • peritrichous protozoa
  • sessile ciliates
  • Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR)
  • tezontle
  • protozoan staining techniques
Open Access

In Vivo Efficacy of Bacillus velezensis Isolated from Korean Gochang Bokbunja Vinegar against Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae Infections

Published Online: 12 Dec 2022
Page range: 553 - 562

Abstract

Abstract

Outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), especially Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), are commonly reported as severe infections in hospitals and long-term care settings, and their occurrence is increasing globally. Conventional antibiotics used for treating CRE have become ineffective due to resistance development. Furthermore, their safety issues restrict their availability and use for CRE treatment. Therefore, developing new drugs different from existing drugs to combat this deadly menace is urgently needed. Probiotics can be a potential option in this context, as probiotics’ efficacy against a variety of infectious illnesses has already been well established. Here, we report the effect of the Bacillus velezensis strain isolated from Gochang Bokbunja vinegar in Korea on CRE infection using two mouse models. Data showed that pretreatment with B. velezensis significantly reduced body weight loss and mortality of CRKP-infected mice in the preventive model. The oral administration of B. velezensis in a therapeutic model also decreased the mortality and illness severity in CRKP-infected mice. Moreover, a two-week oral acute toxicity assay in guinea pigs did not reveal any aberrant clinical signs. Our findings demonstrate the potential effectiveness of our candidate probiotic strain, B. velezensis, against CRKP, suggesting that it could be used as an antimicrobial agent for treating CRKP-related infections.

Keywords

  • carbapenem-resistant (CRE)
  • Gochang Bokbunja vinegar
  • probiotics
Open Access

Isolation, Identification, and Fermentation Medium Optimization of a Caproic Acid‑Producing Enterococcus casseliflavus Strain from Pit Mud of Chinese Strong Flavor Baijiu Ecosystem

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 563 - 575

Abstract

Abstract

Caproic acid is the precursor material of ethyl hexanoate, a representative flavor substance in strong flavor baijiu (SFB). Increasing the content of caproic acid in SFB helps to improve its quality. In the present study, caproic acid-producing bacteria from the pit mud of an SFB ecosystem were isolated, purified, and characterized. Strain BF-1 with the highest caproic acid yield (0.88 g/l) was selected. The morphological and molecular identification analysis showed that strain BF-1 was Enterococcus casseliflavus. The genome of E. casseliflavus BF-1 was sequenced and was found to be 2,968,377 bp in length with 3,270 open reading frames (ORFs). The caproic acid biosynthesis pathway in E. casseliflavus BF-1 was predicted based on the KAAS annotation. The virulence factors in the genome of strain BF-1 were annotated, which showed that E. casseliflavus BF-1 is safe at the genetic level. After adding essential nutrients based on the KAAS annotation, the optimum medium conditions for acid production by strain BF-1 were obtained by performing orthogonal experiments. The caproic acid yield of strain BF-1 reached 3.03 g/l, which was 3.44-fold higher than the initial yield. The optimized fer-

mentation of caproic acid production by BF-1 was reported for the first time. The strain could be further used to regulate the ecosystem in baijiu production to improve its quality.

Keywords

  • baijiu
  • caproic acid
  • genome sequencing
  • fermentation optimization
Open Access

Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variants in an In Silico Genomic Comparison Study with the Original Wuhan Strain and WHO-Recognized Variants of Concern

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 577 - 587

Abstract

Abstract

This study aimed to determine the genetic alterations in the Omicron variants compared to other variants of concern (VOCs) to trace the evolutionary genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 variants responsible for the multiple COVID-19 waves globally. The present study is an in silico analysis determining the evolution of selected 11 VOCs compared to the original Wuhan strain. The variants included six Omicrons and one variant of Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Mu. The pairwise alignment with the local alignment search tool of NCBI Nucleotide-BLAST and NCBI Protein-BLAST were used to determine the nucleotide base changes and corresponding amino acid changes in proteins, respectively. The genomic analysis revealed 210 nucleotide changes; most of these changes (127/210, 60.5%) were non-synonymous mutations that occurred mainly in the S gene (52/127, 40.1%). The remaining 10.5% (22/210) and 1.9% (4/210) of the mutations were frameshift deletions and frameshift insertions, respectively. The frameshift insertion (Ins22194T T22195G) led to frameshift deletion (Δ211N). Only four mutations (C241T, C3037T, C14408T, and A23403G) were shared among all the VOCs. The nucleotide changes among Omicron variants resulted in 61 amino acid changes, while the nucleotide changes in other VOCs showed 11 amino acid changes. The present study showed that most mutations (38/61, 62.3%) among Omicron variants occurred in the S gene; and 34.2% of them (13/38) occurred in the receptor-binding domain. The present study confirmed that most of mutations developed by Omicron variants occurred in the vaccine target gene (S gene).

Keywords

  • Omicron
  • VOCs
  • Nucleotide-BLAST
  • Protein-BLAST
Open Access

Molecular Characterization of Aspergillus flavus Strains Isolated from Animal Feeds

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 589 - 599

Abstract

Abstract

Aflatoxin (AF)-producing fungi such as Aspergillus flavus commonly contaminate animal feeds, causing high economic losses. A. flavus is the most prevalent and produces AFB1, a potent mutagen, and carcinogen threatening human and animal health. Aspergillaceae is a large group of closely related fungi sharing number of morphological and genetic similarities that complicate the diagnosis of highly pathogenic strains. We used here morphological and molecular assays to characterize fungal isolates from animal feeds in Southwestern Algeria. These tools helped to identify 20 out of 30 Aspergillus strains, and 15 of them belonged to the Aspergillus section Flavi. Further analyses detected four out of 15 as belonging to Aspergillus flavus-parasiticus group. PCR targeting the AF genes’ aflR-aflS(J) intergenic region amplified a single 674 bp amplicon in all four isolates. The amplicons were digested with a BglII endonuclease, and three specific fragments were observed for A. flavus but A. parasitucus lacked two typical fragments. Sequencing data of four amplicons confirmed the presence of the two BglII restriction sites yielding the three fragments, confirming that all four strains were A. flavus. In addition, this analysis illustrated the genetic variability within the A. flavus strains.

Keywords

  • IGS
  • PCR-RFLP
  • diagnosis tools
Open Access

Characterization of Fecal Microbiomes of Osteoporotic Patients in Korea

Published Online: 21 Dec 2022
Page range: 601 - 613

Abstract

Abstract

An imbalanced gut microbiome has been linked to a higher risk of many bone-related diseases. The objective of this study was to discover biomarkers of osteoporosis (OP). So, we collected 76 stool samples (60 human controls and 16 OP patients), extracted DNA, and performed 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene-based amplicon sequencing. Among the taxa with an average taxonomic composition greater than 1%, only the Lachnospira genus showed a significant difference between the two groups. The Linear Discriminant Effect Size analysis and qPCR experiments indicated the Lachnospira genus as a potential biomarker of OP. Moreover, a total of 11 metabolic pathways varied between the two groups. Our study concludes that the genus Lachnospira is potentially crucial for diagnosing and treating osteoporosis. The findings of this study might help researchers better understand OP from a microbiome perspective. This research might develop more effective diagnostic and treatment methods for OP in the future.

Keywords

  • osteoporosis
  • microbiomes
  • gut microbiota
  • fecal microbiomes
  • 16S rRNA gene-based metagenomics

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