Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Microbiology]]> vol. 47 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Draft genome sequence of <em>Bradyrhizobium</em> sp. strain BR 3267, an elite strain recommended for cowpea inoculation in Brazil]]> Abstract The strain BR 3267 is a nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria isolated from soil of semi-arid area of Brazilian Northeast using cowpea as the trap plant. This strain is used as commercial inoculant for cowpea and presents high efficient in nitrogen fixation as consequence of its adaptation potential to semi-arid conditions. We report here the draft genome sequence of Bradyrhizobium sp. strain BR 3267, an elite bacterium used as inoculant for cowpea. Whole genome sequencing of BR 3267 using Illumina MiSeq sequencing technology has 55 scaffolds with a total genome size of 7,904,309 bp and C+G 63%. Annotation was added by the RAST prokaryotic genome annotation service and has shown 7314 coding sequences and 52 RNA genes. <![CDATA[Draft genome sequence of <em>Bradyrhizobium</em> sp. strain BR 3262, an effective microsymbiont recommended for cowpea inoculation in Brazil]]> Abstract The strain BR 3262 was isolated from nodule of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp) growing in soil of the Atlantic Forest area in Brazil and it is reported as an efficient nitrogen fixing bacterium associated to cowpea. Firstly, this strain was assigned as Bradyrhizobium elkanii, however, recently a more detailed genetic and molecular characterization has indicated it could be a Bradyrhizobium pachyrhizi species. We report here the draft genome sequence of B. pachyrhizi strain BR 3262, an elite bacterium used as inoculant for cowpea. The whole genome with 116 scaffolds, 8,965,178 bp and 63.8% of C+G content for BR 3262 was obtained using Illumina MiSeq sequencing technology. Annotation was added by the RAST prokaryotic genome annotation service and shown 8369 coding sequences, 52 RNAs genes, classified in 504 subsystems. <![CDATA[Mobile genetic elements related to carbapenem resistance in <em>Acinetobacter baumannii</em>]]> Abstract Acinetobacter baumannii is widely recognized as an important pathogen associated with nosocomial infections. The treatment of these infections is often difficult due to the acquisition of resistance genes. A. baumannii presents a high genetic plasticity which allows the accumulation of these resistance determinants leading to multidrug resistance. It is highlighted the importance of the horizontal transfer of resistance genes, through mobile genetic elements and its relationship with increased incidence of multidrug resistant A. baumannii in hospitals. Considering that resistance to carbapenems is very important from the clinical and epidemiological point of view, the aim of this article is to present an overview of the current knowledge about genetic elements related to carbapenem resistance in A. baumannii such as integrons, transposons, resistance islands and insertion sequences. <![CDATA[Is the emergence of fungal resistance to medical triazoles related to their use in the agroecosystems? A mini review]]> Abstract Triazole fungicides are used broadly for the control of infectious diseases of both humans and plants. The surge in resistance to triazoles among pathogenic populations is an emergent issue both in agriculture and medicine. The non-rational use of fungicides with site-specific modes of action, such as the triazoles, may increase the risk of antifungal resistance development. In the medical field, the surge of resistant fungal isolates has been related to the intensive and recurrent therapeutic use of a limited number of triazoles for the treatment and prophylaxis of many mycoses. Similarities in the mode of action of triazole fungicides used in these two fields may lead to cross-resistance, thus expanding the spectrum of resistance to multiple fungicides and contributing to the perpetuation of resistant strains in the environment. The emergence of fungicide-resistant isolates of human pathogens has been related to the exposure to fungicides used in agroecosystems. Examples include species of cosmopolitan occurrence, such as Fusarium and Aspergillus, which cause diseases in both plants and humans. This review summarizes the information about the most important triazole fungicides that are largely used in human clinical therapy and agriculture. We aim to discuss the issues related to fungicide resistance and the recommended strategies for preventing the emergence of triazole-resistant fungal populations capable of spreading across environments. <![CDATA[The importance of integrons for development and propagation of resistance in <em>Shigella</em>: the case of Latin America]]> Abstract In Latin America, the disease burden of shigellosis is found to coexist with the rapid and rampant spread of resistance to commonly used antibiotics. The molecular basis of antibiotic resistance lies within genetic elements such as plasmids, transposons, integrons, genomic islands, etc., which are found in the bacterial genome. Integrons are known to acquire, exchange, and express genes within gene cassettes and it is hypothesized that they play a significant role in the transmission of multidrug resistance genes in several Gram-negative bacteria including Shigella. A few studies have described antibiotic resistance genes and integrons among multidrug resistant Shigella isolates found in Latin America. For example, in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, class 1 and class 2 integrons have been detected among multidrug resistant strains of Shigella; this phenomenon is more frequently observed in S. flexneri isolates that are resistant to trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, streptomycin, ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. The gene cassette sul2, which is frequently detected in Shigella strains resistant to the sulfonamides, suggests that the sulfonamide-resistant phenotype can be explained by the presence of the sul2 genes independent of the integron class detected. It is to be noted that sul3 was negative in all isolates analyzed in these studies.The high frequency of sulfonamide (as encoded by sul2) and trimethoprim resistance is likely to be a result of the recurrent use of trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole as a popular regimen for the treatment of shigellosis. The observed resistance profiles of Shigella strains confirm that ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are ineffective as therapeutic options. In-depth information regarding antibiotic resistance mechanism in this pathogen is needed in order to develop suitable intervention strategies. There is a pressing need for regional and local antimicrobial resistance profiling of Shigella to be included as a part of the public health strategy. <![CDATA[Infectivity of housefly, <em>Musca domestica</em> (Diptera: Muscidae) to different entomopathogenic fungi]]> Abstract The housefly Musca domestica is a worldwide insect pest that acts as a vector for many pathogenic diseases in both people and animals. The present study was conducted to evaluate the virulence of different local isolates of Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae and Isaria fumosorosea on M. domestica using two bioassay techniques: (1) adult immersion and (2) a bait method applied to both larvae and adults. The results showed evidence of a broad range of responses by both stages (larvae and adults) to the tested isolates of B. bassiana, M. anisopliae and I. fumosorosea. These responses were concentration-dependent, with mortality percentages ranging from 53.00% to 96.00%. Because it resulted in lower LC50 values and a shorter lethal time, B. bassiana (Bb-01) proved to be the most virulent isolate against both housefly larvae and adults. Sublethal doses of the tested isolates were also assessed to evaluate their effect on M. domestica fecundity and longevity. The fungal infections reduced housefly survival regardless of their sex and also decreased egg production in females. <![CDATA[Soil pretreatment and fast cell lysis for direct polymerase chain reaction from forest soils for terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of fungal communities]]> Abstract Humic substances in soil DNA samples can influence the assessment of microbial diversity and community composition. Using multiple steps during or after cell lysis adds expenses, is time-consuming, and causes DNA loss. A pretreatment of soil samples and a single step DNA extraction may improve experimental results. In order to optimize a protocol for obtaining high purity DNA from soil microbiota, five prewashing agents were compared in terms of their efficiency and effectiveness in removing soil contaminants. Residual contaminants were precipitated by adding 0.6 mL of 0.5 M CaCl2. Four cell lysis methods were applied to test their compatibility with the pretreatment (prewashing + Ca2+ flocculation) and to ultimately identify the optimal cell lysis method for analyzing fungal communities in forest soils. The results showed that pretreatment with TNP + Triton X-100 + skim milk (100 mM Tris, 100 mM Na4P2O7, 1% polyvinylpyrrolidone, 100 mM NaCl, 0.05% Triton X-100, 4% skim milk, pH 10.0) removed most soil humic contaminants. When the pretreatment was combined with Ca2+ flocculation, the purity of all soil DNA samples was further improved. DNA samples obtained by the fast glass bead-beating method (MethodFGB) had the highest purity. The resulting DNA was successfully used, without further purification steps, as a template for polymerase chain reaction targeting fungal internal transcribed spacer regions. The results obtained by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis indicated that the MethodFGB revealed greater fungal diversity and more distinctive community structure compared with the other methods tested. Our study provides a protocol for fungal cell lysis in soil, which is fast, convenient, and effective for analyzing fungal communities in forest soils. <![CDATA[Screening of freshwater fungi for decolorizing multiple synthetic dyes]]> Abstract The biodegradation of synthetic dyes by fungi is emerging as an effective and promising approach. In the present study, freshwater fungal strains isolated from submerged woods were screened for the decolorization of 7 synthetic dyes. Subsequently, 13 isolates with high decolorization capability were assessed in a liquid system; they belonged to 9 different fungal species. Several strains exhibited a highly effective decolorization of multiple types of dyes. New absorbance peaks appeared after the treatment with 3 fungal strains, which suggests that a biotransformation process occurred through fungal biodegradation. These results showed the unexploited and valuable capability of freshwater fungi for the treatment of dye-containing effluents. The ability of certain fungi to decolorize dyes is reported here for the first time. <![CDATA[Comparative metagenome of a stream impacted by the urbanization phenomenon]]> Abstract Rivers and streams are important reservoirs of freshwater for human consumption. These ecosystems are threatened by increasing urbanization, because raw sewage discharged into them alters their nutrient content and may affect the composition of their microbial community. In the present study, we investigate the taxonomic and functional profile of the microbial community in an urban lotic environment. Samples of running water were collected at two points in the São Pedro stream: an upstream preserved and non-urbanized area, and a polluted urbanized area with discharged sewage. The metagenomic DNA was sequenced by pyrosequencing. Differences were observed in the community composition at the two sites. The non-urbanized area was overrepresented by genera of ubiquitous microbes that act in the maintenance of environments. In contrast, the urbanized metagenome was rich in genera pathogenic to humans. The functional profile indicated that the microbes act on the metabolism of methane, nitrogen and sulfur, especially in the urbanized area. It was also found that virulence/defense (antibiotic resistance and metal resistance) and stress response-related genes were disseminated in the urbanized environment. The structure of the microbial community was altered by uncontrolled anthropic interference, highlighting the selective pressure imposed by high loads of urban sewage discharged into freshwater environments. <![CDATA[Enzymatic potential of heterotrophic bacteria from a neutral copper mine drainage]]> Abstract Copper mine drainages are restricted environments that have been overlooked as sources of new biocatalysts for bioremediation and organic syntheses. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the enzymatic activities (esterase, epoxide hydrolase and monooxygenase) of 56 heterotrophic bacteria isolated from a neutral copper mine drainage (Sossego Mine, Canaã dos Carajás, Brazil). Hydrolase and monooxygenase activities were detected in 75% and 20% of the evaluated bacteria, respectively. Bacterial strains with good oxidative performance were also evaluated for biotransformation of organic sulfides. Fourteen strains with good enzymatic activity were identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, revealing the presence of three genera: Bacillus, Pseudomonas and Stenotrophomonas. The bacterial strains B. megaterium (SO5-4 and SO6-2) and Pseudomonas sp. (SO5-9) efficiently oxidized three different organic sulfides to their corresponding sulfoxides. In conclusion, this study revealed that neutral copper mine drainages are a promising source of biocatalysts for ester hydrolysis and sulfide oxidation/bioremediation. Furthermore, this is a novel biotechnological overview of the heterotrophic bacteria from a copper mine drainage, and this report may support further microbiological monitoring of this type of mine environment. <![CDATA[Enrichment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a contaminated soil after rehabilitation]]> Abstract Spore counts, species composition and richness of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, and soil glomalin contents were evaluated in a soil contaminated with Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb after rehabilitation by partial replacement of the contaminated soil with non-contaminated soil, and by Eucalyptus camaldulensis planting with and without Brachiaria decumbens sowing. These rehabilitation procedures were compared with soils from contaminated non-rehabilitated area and non-contaminated adjacent soils. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi communities attributes were assessed by direct field sampling, trap culture technique, and by glomalin contents estimate. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi was markedly favored by rehabilitation, and a total of 15 arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi morphotypes were detected in the studied area. Species from the Glomus and Acaulospora genera were the most common mycorrhizal fungi. Number of spores was increased by as much as 300-fold, and species richness almost doubled in areas rehabilitated by planting Eucalyptus in rows and sowing B. decumbens in inter-rows. Contents of heavy metals in the soil were negatively correlated with both species richness and glomalin contents. Introduction of B. decumbens together with Eucalyptus causes enrichment of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi species and a more balanced community of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi spores in contaminated soil. <![CDATA[<em>Pythium insidiosum</em>: inhibitory effects of propolis and geopropolis on hyphal growth]]> Abstract Propolis and geopropolis are resinous products of bees showing antimicrobial effects. There is no data concerning their action against Pythium insidiosum - the causative agent of pythiosis, a pyogranulomatous disease of the subcutaneous tissue that affects mostly horses, dogs and humans. Fragments of 15 isolates of P. insidiodum were incubated with propolis and geopropolis extracts and evaluated for up to seven days to detect the minimal fungicidal concentration (MFC). Propolis inhibited three isolates at 1.0 mg mL-1 after 24 h and all other isolates at 3.4 mg mL-1. Geopropolis led to more variable results, exerting predominantly a fungistatic action than a fungicidal one. Propolis was more efficient than geopropolis in inhibiting P. insidiosum since lower concentrations led to no growth after 24 h. This effect may be due to propolis chemical composition, which has more active compounds than geopropolis. Propolis seemed to be a good candidate for in vivo studies, since treatment with conventional antifungal compounds is difficult in most of the cases, requiring extensive surgical debridement. <![CDATA[Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) increases the expression of endothelial adhesion/junction molecules]]> Abstract Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the primary causative agent of porcine circovirus disease, a complex multisystem syndrome in domestic pigs. Despite the significant economic losses caused by porcine circovirus disease, the mechanisms of pathogenesis underlying the clinical findings remain largely unclear. As various reports have highlighted the potential key role of vascular lesions in the pathogenesis of porcine circovirus disease, the aim of this work was to investigate effects of PCV2 infection on vascular endothelial cells, focusing on cell viability and expression of adhesion/junction molecules. PCV2 infection reduced endothelial cell viability, while viral infection did not affected the viability of several other classical cell lines. Also, PCV2 infection in endothelial cells displayed a dual/biphasic effect: initially, infection increased ICAM-1 expression, which can favor leukocyte recruitment and emigration to tissues and possibly inducing characteristic porcine circovirus disease inflammatory lesions; then, secondarily, infection caused an increase in zonula occludens 1 tight junction protein (ZO-1) expression, which in turn can result in difficulties for cell traffic across the endothelium and a potential impairment the immune response in peripheral tissues. These virus-induced endothelial changes could directly impact the inflammatory process of porcine circovirus disease and associated vascular/immune system disturbances. Data suggest that, among the wide range of effects induced by PCV2 on the host, endothelial modulation can be a pivotal process which can help to explain PCV2 pathogenesis in some porcine circovirus disease presentations. <![CDATA[Detection of respiratory viruses in shelter dogs maintained under varying environmental conditions]]> Abstract Three dog shelters in Rio Grande do Sul were investigated for associations between the occurrence of respiratory viruses and shelter environmental conditions. Nasal secretions randomly collected during the cold season were tested via PCR, and this data collection was followed by nucleotide sequencing of the amplicons. In shelter #1 (poor sanitary and nutritional conditions, high animal density and constant contact between dogs), 78% (58/74) of the nasal samples were positive, 35% (26/74) of which were in single infections and 44% (32/74) of which were in coinfections. Shelters #2 and #3 had satisfactory sanitary and nutritional conditions, outdoors exercise areas (#2) and animal clustering by groups (#3). In shelter #2, 9% (3/35) of the samples were positive for Canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV), and 6% (2/35) were positive for Canid herpesvirus 1 (CaHV-1). In shelter #3, 9% (7/77) of the samples were positive for Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAdV-2), and 1% (1/77) were positive for Canine distemper virus (CDV). The amplicon sequences (CPIV and CDV nucleoprotein gene; CAdV-2 E3 gene; CaHV-1 glycoprotein B gene) showed 94-100% nucleotide identity with GenBank sequences. Our results demonstrate that CPIV, CAdV-2 and CDV are common in dog shelters and that their frequencies appear to be related with environmental and nutritional conditions. These results indicate the need for control/prevention measures, including vaccination and environmental management, to minimize these infections and improve dog health. <![CDATA[Frequency of zoonotic bacteria among illegally traded wild birds in Rio de Janeiro]]> Abstract The illegal wildlife trade may increase the risk of infectious disease transmission, and it may not only cause disease outbreaks in humans but also threaten livestock, native wild populations, and ecosystems' health. Bird species may act as carriers in the transmission of enteric pathogens. However, epidemiological studies on zoonotic bacteria in wild birds are rare in Brazil. From March 2011 to March 2012, we investigated the frequency of Enterobacteriaceae in cloacal swab samples from 109 birds of the passerine and Psittacidae families. These birds were recovered from illegal trade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and sent to a rehabilitation center. Gram-negative bacteria were isolated from 86 wild birds (78.9%). A mean (±SD) of 1.68 (±1.30) different bacterial species were isolated per bird, with a maximum of five bacterial species from three bird species. The most frequently isolated bacteria were Escherichia coli, followed by Enterobacter spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae and other enteric bacteria. Salmonella ser. Typhimurium was isolated from a Temminck's seedeater (Sporophila falcirostris), and two Salmonella ser. Panama were isolated from two specimens of chestnut-capped blackbird (Chrysomus ruficapillus). Of the 70 selected bacterial isolates, 60 exhibited antibiotic resistance. The resistance patterns varied from one to nine of the antibiotics tested. Resistance to ceftiofur was the most prevalent, followed by ampicillin and ceftriaxone. The dissemination potential of resistant strains in situations typically seen in the management of captive birds may become a problem for the conservation of natural bird populations and for public health. <![CDATA[Isolation and characterization of yeasts from fermented apple bagasse as additives for ruminant feeding]]> Abstract Solid-state fermentation can be used to produce feeds for ruminants, which can provide an enriched population of yeasts to improve ruminal fermentation. Fermentation of apple bagasse was performed to obtain a yeast-rich product, with the objective of isolating, identifying, and characterizing yeast strains and testing their capability to enhance in vitro ruminal fermentation of fibrous feeds. Yeasts were isolated from apple bagasse fermented under in vitro conditions, using rumen liquor obtained from cannulated cows and alfalfa as a fibrous substrate. A total of 16 new yeast strains were isolated and identified by biochemical and molecular methods. The strains were designated Levazot, followed by the isolate number. Their fermentative capacity was assessed using an in vitro gas production method. Strain Levazot 15 (Candida norvegensis) showed the greatest increase in gas production (p &lt; 0.05) compared with the yeast-free control and positively affected in vitro ruminal fermentation parameters of alfalfa and oat straw. Based on these results, it was concluded that the Levazot 15 yeast strain could be potentially used as an additive for ruminants consuming high-fiber diets. However, further studies of effects of these additives on rumen digestion, metabolism, and productive performance of ruminants are required. <![CDATA[Cytotoxicity and anti-<em>Sporothrix brasiliensis</em> activity of the <em>Origanum majorana</em> Linn. oil]]> Abstract The study aimed to evaluate the anti-Sporothrix sp. activity of the essential oil of Origanum majorana Linn. (marjoram), its chemical analysis, and its cytotoxic activity. A total of 18 fungal isolates of Sporothrix brasiliensis (n: 17) from humans, dogs and cats, and a standard strain of Sporothrix schenckii (n: 1) were tested using the broth microdilution technique (Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute - CLSI M27-A3) and the results were expressed in minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal fungicidal concentration (MFC). The MIC50 and MIC90 of itraconazole against S. brasiliensis were 2 µg/mL and 8 µg/mL, respectively, and the MFC50 and MFC90 were 2 µg/mL and &gt;16 µg/mL, respectively, with three S. brasiliensis isolates resistant to antifungal. S. schenckii was sensitive at MIC of 1 µg/mL and MFC of 8 µg/mL. For the oil of O. majorana L., all isolates were susceptible to MIC of ≤2.25-9 mg/mL and MFC of ≤2.25-18 mg/mL. The MIC50 and MIC90 were ≤2.25 mg/mL and 4.5 mg/mL, respectively, and the MFC50/90 values were twice more than the MIC. Twenty-two compounds were identified by gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (CG-FID) and 1,8-cineole and 4-terpineol were the majority. Through the colorimetric (MTT) assay, the toxicity was observed in 70-80% of VERO cells between 0.078 and 5 mg/mL. For the first time, the study demonstrated the satisfactory in vitro anti-Sporothrix sp. activity of marjoram oil and further studies are needed to ensure its safe and effective use. <![CDATA[Analysis of risk factors and clinical manifestations associated with <em>Clostridium difficile</em> disease in Serbian hospitalized patients]]> Abstract Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitalized patients. The aim of this study was to determine the risk factors important for the development of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile-associated disease and clinical manifestations of Clostridium difficile-associated disease. The clinical trial group included 37 hospitalized patients who were selected according to the inclusion criteria. A control group of 74 hospitalized patients was individually matched with cases based on hospital, age (within 4 years), sex and month of admission.Clostridium difficile-associated disease most commonly manifested as diarrhoea (56.76%) and colitis (32%), while in 8.11% of patients, it was diagnosed as pseudomembranous colitis, and in one patient, it was diagnosed as fulminant colitis. Statistically significant associations (p &lt; 0.05) were found with the presence of chronic renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cerebrovascular accident (stroke) and haemodialysis. In this study, it was confirmed that all the groups of antibiotics, except for tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, were statistically significant risk factors for Clostridium difficile-associated disease (p &lt; 0.05). However, it was difficult to determine the individual role of antibiotics in the development of Clostridium difficile-associated disease. Univariate logistic regression also found that applying antibiotic therapy, the duration of antibiotic therapy, administration of two or more antibiotics to treat infections, administering laxatives and the total number of days spent in the hospital significantly affected the onset of Clostridium difficile-associated disease (p &lt; 0.05), and associations were confirmed using the multivariate model for the application of antibiotic therapy (p = 0.001), duration of antibiotic treatment (p = 0.01), use of laxatives (p = 0.01) and total number of days spent in the hospital (p = 0.001). In this study of patients with hospital-acquired diarrhoea, several risk factors for the development of Clostridium difficile-associated disease were identified. <![CDATA[Extracellular phospholipase production of oral <em>Candida albicans</em> isolates from smokers, diabetics, asthmatics, denture wearers and healthy individuals following brief exposure to polyene, echinocandin and azole antimycotics]]> Abstract Objective Candida albicans is the primary causative agent of oral candidosis, and one of its key virulent attributes is considered to be its ability to produce extracellular phospholipases that facilitate cellular invasion. Oral candidosis can be treated with polyenes, and azoles, and the more recently introduced echinocandins. However, once administered, the intraoral concentration of these drugs tend to be sub-therapeutic and rather transient due to factors such as the diluent effect of saliva and cleansing effect of the oral musculature. Hence, intra-orally, the pathogenic yeasts may undergo a brief exposure to antifungal drugs. We, therefore, evaluated the phospholipase production of oral C. albicans isolates following brief exposure to sub-therapeutic concentrations of the foregoing antifungals. Materials and methods Fifty C. albicans oral isolates obtained from smokers, diabetics, asthmatics using steroid inhalers, partial denture wearers and healthy individuals were exposed to sub-therapeutic concentrations of nystatin, amphotericin B, caspofungin, ketoconazole and fluconazole for one hour. Thereafter the drugs were removed and the phospholipase production was determined by a plate assay using an egg yolk-agar medium. Results The phospholipase production of these isolates was significantly suppressed with a percentage reduction of 10.65, 12.14, 11.45 and 6.40% following exposure to nystatin, amphotericin B, caspofungin and ketoconazole, respectively. This suppression was not significant following exposure to fluconazole. Conclusions Despite the sub-therapeutic, intra oral, bioavailability of polyenes, echinocandins and ketoconazole, they are likely to produce a persistent antifungal effect by suppressing phospholipase production, which is a key virulent attribute of this common pathogenic yeast. <![CDATA[Terpinen-4-ol, tyrosol, and β-lapachone as potential antifungals against dimorphic fungi]]> Abstract This study aimed to evaluate the in vitro antifungal activity of terpinen-4-ol, tyrosol, and β-lapachone against strains of Coccidioides posadasii in filamentous phase (n = 22) and Histoplasma capsulatum in both filamentous (n = 40) and yeast phases (n = 13), using the broth dilution methods as described by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum fungicidal concentration (MFC) of these compounds. The mechanisms of action of these compounds were also investigated by analyzing their effect on cell membrane permeability and ergosterol synthesis. The MIC and MFCf these compounds against C. posadasii, mycelial H. capsulatum, and yeast-like H. capsulatum, were in the following ranges: 350-5720 µg/mL, 20-2860 µg/mL, and 40-1420 µg/mL, respectively for terpinen-4-ol; 250-4000 µg/mL, 30-2000 µg/mL, and 10-1000 µg/mL, respectively, for tyrosol; and 0.48-7.8 µg/mL, 0.25-16 µg/mL, and 0.125-4 µg/mL, respectively for β-lapachone. These compounds showed a decrease in MIC when the samples were subjected to osmotic stress, suggesting that the compounds acted on the fungal membrane. All the compounds were able to reduce the ergosterol content of the fungal strains. Finally, tyrosol was able to cause a leakage of intracellular molecules. <![CDATA[The role of <em>gyrA</em> and <em>parC</em> mutations in fluoroquinolones-resistant <em>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</em> isolates from Iran]]> Abstract The aim of this study was to examine mutations in the quinolone-resistance-determining region (QRDR) of gyrA and parC genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates. A total of 100 clinical P. aeruginosa isolates were collected from different university-affiliated hospitals in Tabriz, Iran. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin were evaluated by agar dilution assay. DNA sequences of the QRDR of gyrA and parC were determined by the dideoxy chain termination method. Of the total 100 isolates, 64 were resistant to ciprofloxacin. No amino acid alterations were detected in gyrA or parC genes of the ciprofloxacin susceptible or ciprofloxacin intermediate isolates. Thr-83 → Ile substitution in gyrA was found in all 64 ciprofloxacin resistant isolates. Forty-four (68.75%) of them had additional substitution in parC. A correlation was found between the number of the amino acid alterations in the QRDR of gyrA and parC and the level of ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin resistance of the P. aeruginosa isolates. Ala-88 → Pro alteration in parC was generally found in high level ciprofloxacin resistant isolates, which were suggested to be responsible for fluoroquinolone resistance. These findings showed that in P. aeruginosa, gyrA was the primary target for fluoroquinolone and additional mutation in parC led to highly resistant isolates. <![CDATA[Thermostable chitinase from <em>Cohnella</em> sp. A01: isolation and product optimization]]> Abstract Twelve bacterial strains isolated from shrimp farming ponds were screened for their growth activity on chitin as the sole carbon source. The highly chitinolytic bacterial strain was detected by qualitative cup plate assay and tentatively identified to be Cohnella sp. A01 based on 16S rDNA sequencing and by matching the key morphological, physiological, and biochemical characteristics. The cultivation of Cohnella sp. A01 in the suitable liquid medium resulted in the production of high levels of enzyme. The colloidal chitin, peptone, and K2HPO4 represented the best carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus sources, respectively. Enzyme production by Cohnella sp. A01 was optimized by the Taguchi method. Our results demonstrated that inoculation amount and temperature of incubation were the most significant factors influencing chitinase production. From the tested values, the best pH/temperature was obtained at pH 5 and 70 °C, with Km and V max values of chitinase to be 5.6 mg/mL and 0.87 µmol/min, respectively. Ag+, Co2+, iodoacetamide, and iodoacetic acid inhibited the enzyme activity, whereas Mn2+, Cu2+, Tweens (20 and 80), Triton X-100, and EDTA increased the same. In addition, the study of the morphological alteration of chitin treated by enzyme by SEM revealed cracks and pores on the chitin surface, indicating a potential application of this enzyme in several industries. <![CDATA[<em>Lactobacillus plantarum</em> BL011 cultivation in industrial isolated soybean protein acid residue]]> Abstract In this study, physiological aspects of Lactobacillus plantarum BL011 growing in a new, all-animal free medium in bioreactors were evaluated aiming at the production of this important lactic acid bacterium. Cultivations were performed in submerged batch bioreactors using the Plackett-Burman methodology to evaluate the influence of temperature, aeration rate and stirring speed as well as the concentrations of liquid acid protein residue of soybean, soy peptone, corn steep liquor, and raw yeast extract. The results showed that all variables, except for corn steep liquor, significantly influenced biomass production. The best condition was applied to bioreactor cultures, which produced a maximal biomass of 17.87 g L-1, whereas lactic acid, the most important lactic acid bacteria metabolite, peaked at 37.59 g L-1, corresponding to a productivity of 1.46 g L-1 h-1. This is the first report on the use of liquid acid protein residue of soybean medium for L. plantarum growth. These results support the industrial use of this system as an alternative to produce probiotics without animal-derived ingredients to obtain high biomass concentrations in batch bioreactors. <![CDATA[An original method for producing acetaldehyde and diacetyl by yeast fermentation]]> Abstract In this study a natural culture medium that mimics the synthetic yeast peptone glucose medium used for yeast fermentations was designed to screen and select yeasts capable of producing high levels of diacetyl and acetaldehyde. The presence of whey powder and sodium citrate in the medium along with manganese and magnesium sulfate enhanced both biomass and aroma development. A total of 52 yeasts strains were cultivated in two different culture media, namely, yeast peptone glucose medium and yeast acetaldehyde-diacetyl medium. The initial screening of the strains was based on the qualitative reaction of the acetaldehyde with Schiff's reagent (violet color) and diacetyl with Brady's reagent (yellow precipitate). The fermented culture media of 10 yeast strains were subsequently analyzed by gas chromatography to quantify the concentration of acetaldehyde and diacetyl synthesized. Total titratable acidity values indicated that a total titratable acidity of 5.5 °SH, implying culture medium at basic pH, was more favorable for the acetaldehyde biosynthesis using strain D15 (Candida lipolytica; 96.05 mg L-1 acetaldehyde) while a total titratable acidity value of 7 °SH facilitated diacetyl flavor synthesis by strain D38 (Candida globosa; 3.58 mg L-1 diacetyl). Importantly, the results presented here suggest that this can be potentially used in the baking industry. <![CDATA[Lipopeptide production by <em>Bacillus subtilis</em> R1 and its possible applications]]> Abstract The possible application of a bacterial strain - Bacillus subtilis R1, isolated from an oil contaminated desert site in India, as biocontrol agent and its biosurfactant in microbial enhanced oil recovery are discussed. The biosurfactant production in minimal medium was carried out at different temperatures and salt concentrations, where it produced an efficient biosurfactant at 30-45 °C and in presence of up to 7% salt. It significantly reduced the surface tension from 66 ± 1.25 mN/m to 29 ± 0.85 mN/m within 24 h. In order to enhance the biosurfactant production, random mutagenesis of B. subtilis R1 was performed using chemical mutagen - ethyl methanesulfonate. Majority of the isolated 42 mutants showed biosurfactant production, but the difference was statistically insignificant as compared with parent strain R1. Therefore none of the mutants were selected for further study, and only parent strain R1 was studied. The biosurfactant was quite stable under harsh conditions for up to 10 days. The biosurfactant was extracted and characterized as similar to the lipopeptide group - surfactins and fengycin. The crude oil displacement experiments using biosurfactant broth in sand pack glass columns showed 33 ± 1.25% additional oil recovery. The strain also showed inhibition of various plant pathogenic fungi on potato dextrose agar medium. <![CDATA[Volatile metabolites produced from agro-industrial wastes by Na-alginate entrapped <em>Kluyveromyces marxianus</em>]]> Abstract The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of alginate entrapment on fermentation metabolites of Kluyveromyces marxianus grown in agrowastes that served as the liquid culture media. K. marxianus cells entrapped in Na-alginate were prepared using the traditional liquid-droplet-forming method. Whey and pomaces from processed tomatoes, peppers, and grapes were used as the culture media. The changes in the concentrations of sugar, alcohol, organic acids, and flavor compounds were analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Both free and entrapped, K. marxianus were used individually to metabolize sugars, organic acids, alcohols, and flavor compounds in the tomato, pepper, grape, and acid whey based media. Marked changes in the fermentation behaviors of entrapped and free K. marxianus were observed in each culture. A 1.45-log increase was observed in the cell numbers of free K. marxianus during fermentation. On the contrary, the cell numbers of entrapped K. marxianus remained the same. Both free and entrapped K. marxianus brought about the fermentation of sugars such as glucose, fructose, and lactose in the agrowaste cultures. The highest volume of ethanol was produced by K. marxianus in the whey based media. The concentrations of flavor compounds such as ethyl acetate, isoamyl alcohol, isoamyl acetate, 2-phenylethyl isobutyrate, phenylethyl acetate, and phenylethyl alcohol were higher in fermented agrowaste based media compared to the control. <![CDATA[Rhizobacterial characterization for quality control of eucalyptus biogrowth promoter products]]> Abstract Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria strains from special formulations have been used to optimize eucalyptus cutting production. To undertake quality control for the formulated products, the rhizobacterial strains should be characterized to assess their purity and authentication. In the present study, we characterized nine strains of rhizobacteria, including three Bacillus subtilis (S1, S2 and 3918), two Pseudomonas sp. (MF4 and FL2), P. putida (MF2), P. fulva (Ca), Frateuria aurantia (R1), and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (CIIb). The strains were differentiated by colony morphology after 24 h of incubation in three different solid state culture media (glucose-nutritive agar, 523 medium and yeast extract-mannitol agar), sensitivity to a panel of 28 antibiotics (expressed according to the formation of inhibition halos of bacterial growth in the presence of antibiotics), and PCR-RFLP profiles of the 16S rDNA gene produced using nine restriction enzymes. It was possible to differentiate all nine strains of rhizobacteria using their morphological characteristics and sensitivity to antibiotics. The molecular analysis allowed us to separate the strains CIIb, FL2 and R1 from the strains belonging to the genera Bacillus and Pseudomonas. By using these three methods concomitantly, we were able to determine strain purity and perform the authentication. <![CDATA[Association of genotypes with viral load and biochemical markers in HCV-infected Sindhi patients]]> Abstract The presented study had two objectives. The first was to examine distributions of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) genotypes in Sindh, Pakistan, where HCV is prevalent. The other was to explore clinically relevant relationships between the genotypes, viral load (measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction assays) and biochemical markers. For this, 1471 HCV-infected patients in six cities in Sindh were recruited and sampled. HCV genotype distributions varied among the cities, but genotype 3a was most prevalent, followed by 3b, 1a and 1b (detected in 51.5, 22.7. 9.25 and 3.2% of the cases, respectively). No type-specific sequences were detected in serum samples from 189 (12.8%) of the 1471 patients. Frequencies of low (&lt;200,000 IU/mL serum), intermediate (200,000-600,000 IU/mL serum) and high (&gt;600,000 IU/mL serum) viral loads were respectively 45.4, 16.5 and 38.1% for patients infected with genotype 3, and 16.9, 36.9 and 46.2%, respectively, for patients with other genotypes. Infection with genotype 1a was associated with significantly higher (p &lt; 0.005) alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase titers than infection with genotype 3a. The results will help in the formulation of treatment strategies. <![CDATA[In-house quantitative real-time PCR for the diagnosis of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections]]> Abstract The quantification of viral nucleic acids in serum by real-time PCR plays an important role in diagnosing hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infection. In this study, we developed an assay using specific primers and probes to quantify hepatitis B virus DNA or hepatitis C virus RNA in serum from infected patients. For standardization and validation of the assay, an international panel of hepatitis B virus/hepatitis C virus and standard plasmids was used. A correlation coefficient of 0.983 and 0.963 for hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus, respectively, was obtained based on cycle threshold values and concentrations of DNA or RNA. The standard curve showed a linear relationship from 19 IU/mL to 1.9 × 109 IU/mL of serum, with a coefficient of determination (r2) of 0.99. In sera from patients infected with hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus viral loads (19 IU/mL and 1.9 × 109 IU/mL), we quantified viral loads with a detection limit of 1.9 × 102 IU/mL. The real-time quantitative PCR assay developed in this study provides an ideal system for routine diagnosis and confirmation of indeterminate serological results, especially in immunosuppressed patients. <![CDATA[Use of homologous recombination in yeast to create chimeric bovine viral diarrhea virus cDNA clones]]> Abstract The open reading frame of a Brazilian bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) strain, IBSP4ncp, was recombined with the untranslated regions of the reference NADL strain by homologous recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, resulting in chimeric full-length cDNA clones of BVDV (chi-NADL/IBSP4ncp#2 and chi-NADL/IBSP4ncp#3). The recombinant clones were successfully recovered, resulting in viable viruses, having the kinetics of replication, focus size, and morphology similar to those of the parental virus, IBSP4ncp. In addition, the chimeric viruses remained stable for at least 10 passages in cell culture, maintaining their replication efficiency unaltered. Nucleotide sequencing revealed a few point mutations; nevertheless, the phenotype of the rescued viruses was nearly identical to that of the parental virus in all experiments. Thus, genetic stability of the chimeric clones and their phenotypic similarity to the parental virus confirm the ability of the yeast-based homologous recombination to maintain characteristics of the parental virus from which the recombinant viruses were derived. The data also support possible use of the yeast system for the manipulation of the BVDV genome. <![CDATA[<em>Fusarium</em> and <em>Aspergillus</em> mycotoxins contaminating wheat silage for dairy cattle feeding in Uruguay]]> Abstract Wheat is one of the most important cultivated cereals in Uruguay for human consumption; however, when harvest yields are low, wheat is usually used in ensiling for animal feeding. Ensiling is a forage preservation method that allows for storage during extended periods of time while maintaining nutritional values comparable to fresh pastures. Silage is vulnerable to contamination by spoilage molds and mycotoxins because ensilage materials are excellent substrates for fungal growth. The aim of the study was to identify the mycobiota composition and occurrence of aflatoxins and DON from wheat silage. A total of 220 samples of wheat were collected from four farms in the southwest region of Uruguay were silage practices are developed. The main fungi isolated were Fusarium (43%) and Aspergillus (36%), with Fusarium graminearum sensu lato and Aspergillus section Flavi being the most prevalent species. Aflatoxin concentrations in silo bags ranged from 6.1 to 23.3 µg/kg, whereas DON levels ranged between 3000 µg/kg and 12,400 µg/kg. When evaluating aflatoxigenic capacity, 27.5% of Aspergillus section Flavi strains produced AFB1, 5% AFB2, 10% AFG1 and 17.5% AFG2. All isolates of F. graminearum sensu lato produced DON and 15-AcDON. The results from this study contribute to the knowledge of mycobiota and mycotoxins present in wheat silage. <![CDATA[Synthesis of structured triacylglycerols enriched in <em>n-3</em> fatty acids by immobilized microbial lipase]]> Abstract The search for new biocatalysts has aroused great interest due to the variety of micro-organisms and their role as enzyme producers. Native lipases from Aspergillus niger and Rhizopus javanicus were used to enrich the n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids content in the triacylglycerols of soybean oil by acidolysis with free fatty acids from sardine oil in solvent-free media. For the immobilization process, the best lipase/support ratios were 1:3 (w/w) for Aspergillus niger lipase and 1:5 (w/w) for Rhizopus javanicus lipase using Amberlite MB-1. Both lipases maintained constant activity for 6 months at 4 °C. Reaction time, sardine-free fatty acids:soybean oil mole ratio and initial water content of the lipase were investigated to determine their effects on n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids incorporation into soybean oil. Structured triacylglycerols with 11.7 and 7.2% of eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid were obtained using Aspergillus niger lipase and Rhizopus javanicus lipase, decreasing the n-6/n-3 fatty acids ratio of soybean oil (11:1 to 3.5:1 and 4.7:1, respectively). The best reaction conditions were: initial water content of lipase of 0.86% (w/w), sardine-free faty acids:soybean oil mole ratio of 3:1 and reaction time of 36 h, at 40 °C. The significant factors for the acidolysis reaction were the sardine-free fatty acids:soybean oil mole ratio and reaction time. The characterization of structured triacylglycerols was obtained using easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry. The enzymatic reaction led to the formation of many structured triacylglycerols containing eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid or both polyunsaturated fatty acids. <![CDATA[Effects of the protective, curative, and eradicative applications of chitosan against <em>Penicillium expansum</em> in apples]]> Abstract Apple is one of the most important temperate fruit to Brazil economy, and the use of synthetic chemicals has been the main method for reducing postharvest diseases, such as the blue mold, caused by Penicillium expansum. This work intends to evaluate the practical utilization of chitosan for blue mold control. For this purpose, fruits were treated in a preventive and curative way, immersing the fruits in chitosan solution (5 or 10 mg mL-1), or adding a single drop of this solution (10 mg mL-1) directly into the injuries. The eradicative effect of the polysaccharide was also evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Chitosan did not show a curative effect against the blue mold, and its eradicative effect was only evidenced on the higher concentration (10 mg mL-1). On the other hand, preventively, without the addition of adjuvants, chitosan reduced blue mold incidence in fruits by 24% and 93%, through the immersion or the single drop methods, respectively. Thus, it was found that, for long scale utilization, some improvements in the physico-chemical properties of the chitosan are needed, since it was only capable to prevent the infection by P. expansum when directly added on the fruit injury. <![CDATA[Management of blight of bell pepper (<em>Capsicum annuum</em> var. <em>grossum</em>) caused by <em>Drechslera bicolor</em>]]> Abstract Sweet or bell pepper is a member of the Solanaceae family and is regarded as one of the most popular and nutritious vegetable. Blight, in the form of leaf and fruit blight, has been observed to infect bell pepper crops cultivated at the horticulture farm in Rajasthan College of Agriculture, Udaipur, India. Based on disease severity, we attempted to curb this newly emerged problem using different fungicides, plant extracts, bio-control agents, and commercial botanicals against the fungus in laboratory and pot experiments. Bio-control agent Trichoderma viride and plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) isolate Neist-2 were found to be quite effective against bell pepper blight. All evaluated fungicides, botanicals, commercial botanicals, and bio-control agents in vitro were further studied as seed dressers and two foliar sprays at ten days interval in pot experiments. The combinations of Vitavax, PGPR isolate Neist-2, and Mehandi extract were found to be very effective against bell pepper blight followed by Vitavax, T. viride, and Mehandi extract used individually. All treatments in the pot experiments were found to significantly reduce seedling mortality and enhance plant biomass of bell pepper. Thus, these experimental findings suggest that a better integrated management of bell pepper blight could be achieved by conducting field trials in major bell pepper- and chilli-cultivated areas of the state. Besides fungicides, different botanicals and commercial botanicals also seem to be promising treatment options. Therefore, the outcome of the present study provides an alternate option of fungicide use in minimizing loss caused by Drechslera bicolor. <![CDATA[Antimicrobial profile of <em>Arthrobacter kerguelensis</em> VL-RK_09 isolated from Mango orchards]]> Abstract An actinobacterial strain VL-RK_09 having potential antimicrobial activities was isolated from a mango orchard in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh (India) and was identified as Arthrobacter kerguelensis. The strain A. kerguelensis VL-RK_09 exhibited a broad spectrum of in vitro antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi. Production of bioactive metabolites by the strain was the highest in modified yeast extract malt extract dextrose broth, as compared to other media tested. Lactose (1%) and peptone (0.5%) were found to be the most suitable carbon and nitrogen sources, respectively, for the optimum production of the bioactive metabolites. The maximum production of the bioactive metabolites was detected in the culture medium with an initial pH of 7, in which the strain was incubated for five days at 30 °C under shaking conditions. Screening of secondary metabolites obtained from the culture broth led to the isolation of a compound active against a wide variety of Gram-positive and negative bacteria and fungi. The structure of the first active fraction was elucidated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The compound was identified as S,S-dipropyl carbonodithioate. This study is the first report of the occurrence of this compound in the genus Arthrobacter.