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Acanthamoeba polyphaga, a potential environmental vector for the transmission of food‐borne and opportunistic pathogens

Anacarso, Immacolata, de Niederhäusern, Simona, Messi, Patrizia, Guerrieri, Elisa, Iseppi, Ramona, Sabia, Carla, Bondi, Moreno
Journal of basic microbiology 2012 v.52 no.3 pp. 261-268
Acanthamoeba, Aeromonas hydrophila, Enterococcus faecalis, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella Enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica, bacteria, coculture, digestion, food contamination, foods, hosts, pathogens
The endosymbiotic relationship could represent for many bacteria an important condition favouring their spread in the environment and in foods. For this purpose we studied the behaviour of some food‐borne and opportunistic pathogens (Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, Aeromonas hydrophila, Yersinia enterocolitica) when internalized in Acanthamoeba polyphaga. Our results confirm the capability of the bacteria tested to grow within amoebal hosts. We can observe two types of interactions of the bacteria internalized in A. polyphaga. The first type, showed by Y. enterocolitica and A. hydrophila, was characterized by an early replication, probably followed by the killing and digestion of the bacteria. The second type, showed by E. faecalis and S. aureus was characterized by the persistence and grow inside the host without lysis. Lastly, when amoebae were co‐cultured with L. monocytogenes and S. Enteritidis, an eclipse phase followed by an active intracellular growth was observed, suggesting a third type of predator‐prey trend. The extracellular count in presence of A. polyphaga, as a result of an intracellular multiplication and subsequent release, was characterized by an increase of E. faecalis, S. aureus, L. monocytogenes and S. Enteritidis, and by a low or absent cell count for Y. enterocolitica and A. hydrophila. Our study suggests that the investigated food‐borne and opportunistic pathogens are, in most cases, able to interact with A. polyphaga, to intracellularly replicate and, lastly, to be potentially spread in the environment, underlining the possible role of this protozoan in food contamination. (© 2012 WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)