Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Brazilian Journal of Microbiology]]> vol. 46 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Draft genome sequence of bla<sub>Veb-1</sub>, bla<sub>oxa-10</sub>producing multi-drug resistant (MDR) <italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic>strain VRFPA09 recovered from bloodstream infection]]> <p><italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic> (<italic>P. aeruginosa</italic>) bacteremia causes significant mortality rate due to emergence of multidrug resistant (MDR) nosocomial infections. We report the draft genome sequence of <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic> strain VRFPA09, a human bloodstream isolate, phenotypically proven as MDR strain. Whole genome sequencing on VRFPA09, deciphered betalactamase encoding bla<sub>veb-1</sub> and bla<sub>OXA-10</sub>genes and multiple drug resistance, virulence factor encoding genes.</p> <![CDATA[Dormancy models for <italic>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</italic>: A minireview]]> <p>Dormancy models for <italic>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</italic> play important roles in understanding various aspects of tuberculosis pathogenesis and in the testing of novel therapeutic regimens. By simulating the latent tuberculosis infection, in which the bacteria exist in a non-replicative state, the models demonstrate reduced susceptibility to antimycobacterial agents. This minireview outlines the models available for simulating latent tuberculosis both <italic>in vitro</italic> and in several animal species. Additionally, this minireview discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these models for investigating the bacterial subpopulations and susceptibilities to sterilization by various antituberculosis drugs.</p> <![CDATA[GPo1 <italic>alkB</italic> gene expression for improvement of the degradation of diesel oil by a bacterial consortium]]> <p>To facilitate the biodegradation of diesel oil, an oil biodegradation bacterial consortium was constructed. The alkane hydroxylase (<italic>alkB</italic>) gene of <italic>Pseudomonas putida</italic> GPo1 was constructed in a pCom8 expression vector, and the pCom8-GPo1 <italic>alkB</italic> plasmid was transformed into <italic>Escherichia coli</italic> DH5α. The AlkB protein was expressed by diesel oil induction and detected through SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The culture of the recombinant (pCom8-GPo1 <italic>alkB/E. coli</italic> DH5α) with the oil biodegradation bacterial consortium increased the degradation ratio of diesel oil at 24 h from 31% to 50%, and the facilitation rates were increased as the proportion of pCom8-GPo1 <italic>alkB</italic>/<italic>E. coli</italic> DH5α to the consortium increased. The results suggested that the expression of the GPo1 gene in <italic>E. coli</italic> DH5α could enhance the function of diesel oil degradation by the bacterial consortium.</p> <![CDATA[Aerobic cyanide degradation by bacterial isolates from cassava factory wastewater]]> <p>Ten bacterial strains that utilize cyanide (CN) as a nitrogen source were isolated from cassava factory wastewater after enrichment in a liquid media containing sodium cyanide (1 mM) and glucose (0.2% w/v). The strains could tolerate and grow in cyanide concentrations of up to 5 mM. Increased cyanide levels in the media caused an extension of lag phase in the bacterial growth indicating that they need some period of acclimatisation. The rate of cyanide removal by the strains depends on the initial cyanide and glucose concentrations. When initial cyanide and glucose concentrations were increased up to 5 mM, cyanide removal rate increased up to 63 and 61 per cent by <italic>Bacillus pumilus</italic> and <italic>Pseudomonas putida</italic>. Metabolic products such as ammonia and formate were detected in culture supernatants, suggesting a direct hydrolytic pathway without an intermediate formamide. The study clearly demonstrates the potential of aerobic treatment with cyanide degrading bacteria for cyanide removal in cassava factory wastewaters.</p> <![CDATA[Biodegradation of cypermethrin by immobilized cells of <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. strain CPN 1]]> <p>Pyrethroid pesticide cypermethrin is a environmental pollutant because of its widespread use, toxicity and persistence. Biodegradation of such chemicals by microorganisms may provide an cost-effective method for their detoxification. We have investigated the degradation of cypermethrin by immobilized cells of <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. strain CPN 1 in various matrices such as, polyurethane foam (PUF), polyacrylamide, sodium alginate and agar. The optimum temperature and pH for the degradation of cypermethrin by immobilized cells of <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. were found to be 30 °C and 7.0, respectively. The rate of degradation of 10 and 20 mM of cypermethrin by freely suspended cells were compared with that of immobilized cells in batches and semi-continuous with shaken cultures. PUF-immobilized cells showed higher degradation of cypermethrin (10 mM and 20 mM) than freely suspended cells and cells immobilized in other matrices. The PUF-immobilized cells of <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. strain CPN 1 were retain their degradation capacity. Thus, they can be reused for more than 32 cycles, without losing their degradation capacity. Hence, the PUF-immobilized cells of <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. could potentially be used in the bioremediation of cypermethrin contaminated water.</p> <![CDATA[Molecular characterisation of <italic>Aspergillus flavus</italic> isolates from peanut fields in India using AFLP]]> <p>Aflatoxin contamination of peanut, due to infection by <italic>Aspergillus flavus</italic>, is a major problem of rain-fed agriculture in India. In the present study, molecular characterisation of 187 <italic>Aspergillus flavus</italic> isolates, which were sampled from the peanut fields of Gujarat state in India, was performed using AFLP markers. On a pooled cluster analysis, the markers could successfully discriminate among the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘G’ group <italic>A. flavus</italic> isolates. PCoA analysis also showed equivalent results to the cluster analysis. Most of the isolates from one district could be clustered together, which indicated genetic similarity among the isolates. Further, a lot of genetic variability was observed within a district and within a group. The results of AMOVA test revealed that the variance within a population (84%) was more than that between two populations (16%). The isolates, when tested by indirect competitive ELISA, showed about 68.5% of them to be atoxigenic. Composite analysis between the aflatoxin production and AFLP data was found to be ineffective in separating the isolate types by aflatoxigenicity. Certain unique fragments, with respect to individual isolates, were also identified that may be used for development of SCAR marker to aid in rapid and precise identification of isolates.</p> <![CDATA[Purification and characterization of cold-adapted beta-agarase from an Antarctic psychrophilic strain]]> <p>An extracellular β-agarase was purified from <italic>Pseudoalteromonas</italic> sp. NJ21, a Psychrophilic agar-degrading bacterium isolated from Antarctic Prydz Bay sediments. The purified agarase (Aga21) revealed a single band on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, with an apparent molecular weight of 80 kDa. The optimum pH and temperature of the agarase were 8.0 and 30 °C, respectively. However, it maintained as much as 85% of the maximum activities at 10 °C. Significant activation of the agarase was observed in the presence of Mg<sup>2+</sup>, Mn<sup>2+</sup>, K<sup>+</sup>; Ca<sup>2+</sup>, Na<sup>+</sup>, Ba<sup>2+</sup>, Zn<sup>2+</sup>, Cu<sup>2+</sup>, Co<sup>2+</sup>, Fe<sup>2+</sup>, Sr<sup>2+</sup> and EDTA inhibited the enzyme activity. The enzymatic hydrolyzed product of agar was characterized as neoagarobiose. Furthermore, this work is the first evidence of cold-adapted agarase in Antarctic psychrophilic bacteria and these results indicate the potential for the Antarctic agarase as a catalyst in medicine, food and cosmetic industries.</p> <![CDATA[Keratinolytic abilities of <italic>Micrococcus luteus</italic> from poultry waste]]> <p>Keratinolytic microorganisms have become the subject of scientific interest due to their ability to biosynthesize specific keratinases and their prospective application in keratinic waste management. Among several bacterial classes, actinobacteria remain one of the most important sources of keratin-degrading strains, however members of the <italic>Micrococcaceae</italic> family are rarely scrutinized in regard to their applicatory keratinolytic potential. The tested <italic>Micrococcus</italic> sp. B1pz isolate from poultry feather waste was identified as <italic>M. luteus</italic>. The strain, grown in the medium with 1–2% chicken feathers and a yeast extract supplement, produced keratinases of 32 KU and lower level of proteases, 6 PU. It was capable to effectively decompose feathers or “soft” keratin of <italic>stratum corneum</italic>, in contrast to other “hard” hair-type keratins. The produced keratinolytic enzymes were mainly a combination of alkaline serine or thiol proteases, active at the optimum pH 9.4, 55 °C. Four main protease fractions of 62, 185, 139 and 229 kDa were identified in the crude culture fluid. The research on the auxiliary role of reducing factors revealed that reducing sulfur compounds could be applied in keratinolysis enhancement during enzymatic digestion of keratin, rather than in culture conditions. The presented <italic>M. luteus</italic> isolate exhibits a significant keratinolytic potential, which determines its feasible applicatory capacity towards biodegradation of poultry by-products or formulation of keratin-based feed components.</p> <![CDATA[Chemical products induce resistance to <italic>Xanthomonas perforans</italic> in tomato]]> <p>The bacterial spot of tomato, caused by <italic>Xanthomonas</italic> spp., is a very important disease, especially in the hot and humid periods of the year. The chemical control of the disease has not been very effective for a number of reasons. This study aimed to evaluate, under greenhouse conditions, the efficacy of leaf-spraying chemicals (acibenzolar-S-methyl (ASM) (0.025 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), fluazinam (0.25 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), pyraclostrobin (0.08 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), pyraclostrobin + methiran (0.02 g.L<sup>−1</sup> + 2.2 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), copper oxychloride (1.50 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), mancozeb + copper oxychloride (0.88 g.L<sup>−1</sup> + 0.60 g.L<sup>−1</sup>), and oxytetracycline (0.40 g.L<sup>−1</sup>)) on control of bacterial spot. Tomatoes Santa Clara and Gisele cultivars were pulverized 3 days before inoculation with <italic>Xanthomonas perforans.</italic> The production of enzymes associated with resistance induction (peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, β-1,3-glucanase, and protease) was quantified from leaf samples collected 24 hours before and 24 hours after chemical spraying and at 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 days after bacterial inoculation. All products tested controlled bacterial spot, but only ASM, pyraclostrobin, and pyraclostrobin + metiram increased the production of peroxidase in the leaves of the two tomato cultivars, and increased the production of polyphenol oxidase and β-1,3-glucanase in the Santa Clara cultivar.</p> <![CDATA[Bioleaching of gold, copper and nickel from waste cellular phone PCBs and computer goldfinger motherboards by two <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic>strains]]> <p>In an effort to develop alternate techniques to recover metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), this research evaluated the bioleaching efficiency of gold (Au), copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) by two strains of <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> in the presence of gold-plated finger integrated circuits found in computer motherboards (GFICMs) and cellular phone printed circuit boards (PCBs). These three metals were analyzed for their commercial value and their diverse applications in the industry. Au-bioleaching ranged from 42 to 1% for <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> strain MXPE6; with the combination of <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> MXPE6 + <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> MX7, the Au-bioleaching was 87 and 28% for PCBs and GFICMs, respectively. In contrast, the bioleaching of Cu by <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> MXPE6 was 24 and 5%; using the combination of both strains, the values were 0.2 and 29% for PCBs and GFICMs, respectively. Fungal Ni-leaching was only found for PCBs, but with no significant differences among treatments. Improvement of the metal recovery efficiency by means of fungal metabolism is also discussed.</p> <![CDATA[Bioaccumulation of animal adenoviruses in the pink shrimp]]> <p>Adenoviruses are among the most promising viral markers of fecal contamination. They are frequently found in the water, sediment and soil of regions impacted by human activity. Studies of the bioaccumulation of enteric viruses in shrimp are scarce. The cities located in the northern coast of the lake systems in Southern Brazil have high urbanization and intensive farming rates, and poor sewage collection and treatment. One hundred (n = 100) <italic>Farfantepenaeus paulensis</italic> pink-shrimp specimens and 48 water samples were collected from coastal lagoons between June 2012 and May 2013. Water samples were concentrated and the shrimp, mashed. After DNA extraction, samples were analyzed by real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) in order to detect and quantify viral genomes. Thirty-five percent of shrimp samples were positive for contamination, predominantly by avian adenoviruses. A total of 91.7% of water samples contained adenoviruses DNA, with the human form being the most frequent. Our results provided evidence of significant bioaccumulation of adenoviruses in shrimp, showing the extent of the impact of fecal pollution on aquatic ecosystems.</p> <![CDATA[A comparative study of coastal and clinical isolates of <italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic>]]> <p><italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic> is a ubiquitous Gram-negative bacterium having a versatile metabolic potential and great ecological and clinical significance. The geographical distribution of <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic>has revealed the existence of an unbiased genetic arrangement in terrestrial isolates. In contrast, there are very few reports about <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic> strains from marine environments. The present work was aimed at studying the distribution of <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic> in coastal waters along the Indian Peninsula and understanding the environmental influence on genotypic, metabolic and phenotypic characteristics by comparing marine and clinical isolates. Of the 785 marine isolates obtained on selective media, only 32 (~4.1%) were identified as <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic>, based on their fatty acid methyl ester profiles. A low Euclidian distance value (&lt; 2.5) obtained from chemotaxonomic analysis suggested that all the environmental (coastal and marine) isolates originated from a single species. While UPGMA analyses of AP-PCR and phenotypic profiles separated the environmental and clinical isolates, fatty acid biotyping showed overlapping between most clinical and environmental isolates. Our study revealed the genetic diversity among different environmental isolates of <italic>P. aeruginosa.</italic> While biogeographical separation was not evident based solely on phenotypic and metabolic typing, genomic and metatranscriptomic studies are more likely to show differences between these isolates. Thus, newer and more insightful methods are required to understand the ecological distribution of this complex group of bacteria.</p> <![CDATA[Symbiotic potential and survival of native rhizobia kept on different carriers]]> <p>Native rhizobia are ideal for use as commercial legume inoculants. The characteristics of the carrier used to store the inoculants are important for the survival and symbiotic potential of the rhizobia. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of peat (PEAT), perlite sugarcane bagasse (PSB), carboxymethyl cellulose plus starch (CMCS), and yeast extract mannitol supplemented with mannitol (YEMM) on the survival, nodulation potential and N<sub>2</sub> fixation capacity of the native strains <italic>Sinorhizobium mexicanum</italic> ITTG R7<sup>T</sup> and <italic>Rhizobium calliandrae</italic> LBP2-1<sup>T</sup> and of the reference strain <italic>Rhizobium etli</italic> CFN42<sup>T</sup>. A factorial design (4 × 3) with four repetitions was used to determine the symbiotic potential of the rhizobial strains. The survival of the strains was higher for PEAT (46% for strain LBP2-1<sup>T</sup>, 167% for strain CFN42<sup>T</sup> and 219% for strain ITTG R7<sup>T</sup>) than for the other carriers after 240 days, except for CFN42<sup>T</sup> kept on CMCS (225%). All the strains kept on the different carriers effectively nodulated common bean, with the lowest number of nodules found (5 nodules) when CFN42<sup>T</sup> was kept on CMCS and with the highest number of nodules found (28 nodules) when ITTG R7<sup>T</sup> was kept on PSB. The nitrogenase activity was the highest for ITTG R7<sup>T</sup> kept on PEAT (4911 μmol C<sub>2</sub>H<sub>4</sub> per fresh weight nodule h<sup>−1</sup>); however, no activity was found when the strains were kept on YEMM. Thus, the survival and symbiotic potential of the rhizobia depended on the carrier used to store them.</p> <![CDATA[Application of the BacT/ALERT<sup>R</sup> 3D system for sterility testing of injectable products]]> <p>Sterility testing as described in the pharmacopoeia compendia requires a 14-day incubation period to obtain an analytical result. Alternative methods that could be applied to evaluating product sterility are especially interesting due to the possibility of reducing this incubation period and thus the associated costs. The aims of this study were to evaluate the performance of the BacT/ALERT<sup>R</sup> 3D system in detecting microorganisms in large-volume parenteral solutions that were intentionally contaminated and to compare this system to pharmacopoeia sterility testing using the membrane filtration method. The results indicated that there were no significant differences between the methods regarding the ability to detect microbial contamination; however, detection with the BacT/ALERT<sup>R</sup> 3D system was faster compared to the pharmacopoeia method. Therefore, the BacT/ALERT<sup>R</sup> 3D system is a viable alternative for assessing the sterility of injectable products.</p> <![CDATA[Seasonal variation on the presence of adenoviruses in stools from non-diarrheic patients]]> <p>Human adenoviruses (HAdV), members of the <italic>Adenoviridae</italic> family, are excreted through the fecal route and may be present in the feces of humans consuming contaminated food or water. The presence of HAdV from different serotypes in the feces of healthy individuals was already reported using conventional polymerase chain reaction; however, real-time PCR (qPCR) may reveal not only the rates of detection as well as demonstrate the viral loads excreted by healthy persons. Aiming to identify and characterize the presence of adenoviruses in stool samples, 147 fecal samples from patients with no records of diarrhea were analyzed (74 from winter season and 73 from summer) by Real-Time PCR (qPCR) assay and conventional PCR. HAdV genome was present in 43.8% (32/73) of stools samples collected during summer season and 21.6% (16/74) during winter. The rate of detection of genomic copies (gc) ranged from 4.04×10<sup>2</sup> to 6.72×10<sup>5</sup>gc/g of feces among the 147 samples analyzed, of which the ranged of genomic copies of DNA HAdV was major in summer. All samples were negative when tested for rotaviruses (RV) and noroviruses (NoV) by PCR conventional and qPCR respectively. HAdV is excreted constantly by infected individuals in the absence of clinical signs and the occurrence may vary seasonally.</p> <![CDATA[Quinolone resistance and ornithine decarboxylation activity in lactose-negative <italic>Escherichia coli</italic>]]> <p>Quinolones and fluoroquinolones are widely used to treat uropathogenic <italic>Escherichia coli</italic> infections. Bacterial resistance to these antimicrobials primarily involves mutations in <italic>gyrA</italic> and <italic>parC</italic> genes. To date, no studies have examined the potential relationship between biochemical characteristics and quinolone resistance in uropathogenic <italic>E. coli</italic> strains. The present work analyzed the quinolone sensitivity and biochemical activities of fifty-eight lactose-negative uropathogenic <italic>E. coli</italic> strains. A high percentage of the isolates (48.3%) was found to be resistant to at least one of the tested quinolones, and DNA sequencing revealed quinolone resistant determining region <italic>gyrA</italic> and <italic>parC</italic> mutations in the multi-resistant isolates. Statistical analyses suggested that the lack of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity is correlated with quinolone resistance. Despite the low number of isolates examined, this is the first study correlating these characteristics in lactose-negative <italic>E. coli</italic> isolates.</p> <![CDATA[Molecular characterization of multidrug-resistant <italic>Klebsiella pneumoniae</italic> isolates]]> <p><italic>Klebsiella pneumoniae</italic> is an important cause of healthcare-associated infections worldwide. Selective pressure, the extensive use of antibiotics, and the conjugational transmission of antibiotic resistance genes across bacterial species and genera facilitate the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) <italic>K. pneumoniae</italic>. Here, we examined the occurrence, phenotypes and genetic features of MDR <italic>K. pneumoniae</italic> isolated from patients in intensive care units (ICUs) at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University in Xiamen, China, from January to December 2011. Thirty-eight MDR <italic>K. pneumoniae</italic> strains were collected. These MDR <italic>K. pneumoniae</italic> isolates possessed at least seven antibiotic resistance determinants, which contribute to the high-level resistance of these bacteria to aminoglycosides, macrolides, quinolones and β-lactams. Among these isolates, 24 strains were extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producers, 2 strains were AmpC producers, and 12 strains were both ESBL and AmpC producers. The 38 MDR isolates also contained class I (28/38) and class II integrons (10/38). All 28 class I-positive isolates contained <italic>aacC1</italic>, <italic>aacC4</italic>, <italic>orfX</italic>, <italic>orfX’ and aadA1</italic> genes. β-lactam resistance was conferred through <italic>bla</italic><sub>SHV</sub> (22/38), <italic>bla</italic><sub>TEM</sub> (10/38), and <italic>bla</italic><sub>CTX-M</sub> (7/38). The highly conserved <italic>bla</italic><sub>KPC-2</sub> (37/38) and <italic>bla</italic><sub>OXA-23</sub>(1/38) alleles were responsible for carbapenem resistance, and a <italic>gyrA</italic>site mutation (27/38) and the plasmid-mediated <italic>qnrB</italic> gene (13/38) were responsible for quinolone resistance. Repetitive-sequence-based PCR (REP-PCR) fingerprinting of these MDR strains revealed the presence of five groups and sixteen patterns. The MDR strains from unrelated groups showed different drug resistance patterns; however, some homologous strains also showed different drug resistance profiles. Therefore, REP-PCR-based analyses can provide information to evaluate the epidemic status of nosocomial infection caused by MDR <italic>K. pneumoniae</italic>; however, this test lacks the power to discriminate some isolates. Thus, we propose that both genotyping and REP-PCR typing should be used to distinguish genetic groups beyond the species level.</p> <![CDATA[Antioxidant capacity of several Iranian, wild and cultivated strains of the button mushroom]]> <p>The white button mushroom, <italic>Agaricus bisporus</italic>, is the most commonly grown mushroom in Iran; however, there is a significant shortage of research on its antioxidant activity and other medicinal properties. The aim of this study was to evaluate antioxidant capacity of the methanolic extracts from four cultivated strains and four Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS)-identified, Iranian wild isolates of <italic>A</italic>. <italic>bisporus</italic>. Evaluations were made for total phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins, and 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) scavenging activity. Overall, results showed that all the wild isolates exhibited significantly lower DPPH-derived EC<sub>50</sub>, compared to the cultivated strains (p &lt; 0.05). A relatively high relationship was observed between total phenols and flavonoids or anthocyanins (r<sup>2</sup> &gt; 0.60). However, these constituents could not statistically differentiate the group of wild samples from the cultivated ones, and there was low correlation with the DPPH-derived EC<sub>50</sub>s (r<sup>2</sup> &lt; 0.40). In conclusion, comparisons showed that wild isolate 4 and cultivated strains A15 and H1 had higher antioxidant capacity than the others (p &lt; 0.05). This result identifies these mushrooms as good candidates for further investigation.</p> <![CDATA[Healthcare-associated vancomycin resistant <italic>Enterococcus faecium</italic> infections in the Mansoura University Hospitals intensive care units, Egypt]]> <p>Vancomycin resistant <italic>Enterococcus faecium</italic> (VREF) ia an emerging and challenging nosocomial pathogen. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, risk factors and clonal relationships between different VREF isolates in the intensive care units (ICUs) of the university hospitals in our geographic location. This prospective study was conducted from July, 2012 until September, 2013 on 781 patients who were admitted to the ICUs of the Mansoura University Hospitals (MUHs), and fulfilled the healthcare-associated infection (HAI) criteria. Susceptibility testing was determined using the disk diffusion method. The clonal relationships were evaluated with pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Out of 52 <italic>E. faecium</italic> isolates, 12 (23.1%) were vancomycin resistant. The significant risk factors for the VREF infections were: transfer to the ICU from a ward, renal failure, an extended ICU stay and use of third-generation cephalosporins, gentamicin, or ciprofloxacin. PFGE with the 12 isolates showed 9 different patterns; 3 belonged to the same pulsotype and another 2 carried a second pulsotypes. The similar pulsotypes isolates were isolated from ICUs of one hospital (EICUs); however, all of the isolates from the other ICUs had different patterns. Infection control policy, in conjunction with antibiotic stewardship, is important to combat VREF transmission in these high-risk patients.</p> <![CDATA[Antimicrobial activity of <italic>Anonna mucosa</italic> (Jacq.) grown <italic>in vivo</italic> and obtained by <italic>in vitro</italic>culture]]> <p>Brazilian flora includes numerous species of medicinal importance that can be used to develop new drugs. Plant tissue culture offers strategies for conservation and use of these species allowing continuous production of plants and bioactive substances. <italic>Annona mucosa</italic> has produced substances such as acetogenins and alkaloids that exhibit antimicrobial activities. The widespread use of antibiotics has led to an increase in multidrug-resistant bacteria, which represents a serious risk of infection. In view of this problem, the aim of this work was to evaluate the antibacterial potential of extracts of <italic>A. mucosa</italic> obtained by <italic>in vitro</italic> techniques and also cultured under <italic>in vivo</italic> conditions. Segments from seedlings were inoculated onto different culture media containing the auxin picloram and the cytokinin kinetin at different concentrations. The calluses obtained were used to produce cell suspension cultures. The materials were subjected to methanol extraction and subsequent fractionation in hexane and dichloromethane. The antimicrobial activity against 20 strains of clinical relevance was evaluated by the macrodilution method at minimum inhibitory and minimum bactericidal concentrations. The extracts showed selective antimicrobial activity, inhibiting the growth of <italic>Streptococcus pyogenes</italic> and <italic>Bacillus thuringiensis</italic> at different concentrations. The plant tissue culture methods produced plant materials with antibacterial properties, as well as <italic>in vivo</italic> grown plants. The antibacterial activity of material obtained through biotechnological procedures of <italic>A. mucosa</italic> is reported here for the first time.</p> <![CDATA[Isolation of <italic>Dickeya dadantii</italic> strains from potato disease and biocontrol by their bacteriophages]]> <p>One of the most economically important bacterial pathogens of plants and plant products is <italic>Dickeya dadantii</italic>. This bacterium causes soft rot disease in tubers and other parts of the potato and other plants of the <italic>Solanaceae</italic> family. The application of restricted host range bacteriophages as biocontrol agents has recently gained widespread interest. This study purposed to isolate the infectious agent of the potato and evaluate its biocontrol by bacteriophages. Two phytopathogenic strains were isolated from infected potatoes, identified based on biochemical and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and submitted to GenBank as <italic>D. dadantii</italic> strain pis3 (accession no. HQ423668) and <italic>D. dadantii</italic> strain sip4 (accession no. HQ423669). Their bacteriophages were isolated from Caspian Sea water by enriching the water filtrate with <italic>D. dadantii</italic> strains as hosts using spot or overlay methods. On the basis of morphotypes, the isolated bacteriophages were identified as members of the <italic>Myoviridae</italic> and <italic>Siphoviridae</italic> families and could inhibit the growth of antibiotic resistant <italic>D. dadantii</italic> strains in culture medium. Moreover, in <italic>Dickeya</italic> infected plants treated with bacteriophage, no disease progression was detected. No significant difference was seen between phage-treated and control plants. Thus, isolated bacteriophages can be suggested for the biocontrol of plant disease caused by <italic>Dickeya</italic> strains.</p> <![CDATA[Dermatophytes and other associated fungi in patients attending to some hospitals in Egypt]]> <p>Dermatophytes are keratinophilic fungi that infect keratinized tissues causing diseases known as dermatophytoses. Dermatophytes are classified in three genera, <italic>Epidermophyton, Microsporum,</italic> and <italic>Trichophyton</italic>. This investigation was performed to study the prevalence of dermatomycosis among 640 patients being evaluated at the dermatology clinics at Kasr elainy, El-Husein and Said Galal hospitals in Cairo and Giza between January 2005 and December 2006. The patients were checked for various diseases. Tinea capitis was the most common clinical disease followed by tinea pedis and tinea corporis. Tinea cruris and tinea unguium were the least in occurrence. Tinea versicolor also was detected. The most susceptible persons were children below 10 years followed by those aged 31–40 years. Unicellular yeast was the most common etiological agent and <italic>T. tonsurans</italic>was the second most frequent causative agent followed by <italic>M. canis</italic>.</p> <![CDATA[Seroprevalence of <italic>Borrelia burgdorferi</italic> in occupationally exposed persons in the Belgrade area, Serbia]]> <p>Lyme disease (LD) is a natural focal zoonotic disease caused by <italic>Borrelia burgdorferi,</italic> which is mainly transmitted through infected <italic>Ixodes ricinus</italic> tick bites. The presence and abundance of ticks in various habitats, the infectivity rate, as well as prolonged human exposure to ticks are factors that may affect the infection risk as well as the incidence of LD. In recent years, 20% to 25% of ticks infected with different borrelial species, as well as about 5,300 citizens with LD, have been registered in the Belgrade area. Many of the patients reported tick bites in city’s grassy areas. The aim of this study was to assess the seroprevalence of <italic>B. burgdorferi</italic> in high-risk groups (forestry workers and soldiers) in the Belgrade area, and to compare the results with healthy blood donors. A two-step algorithm consisting of ELISA and Western blot tests was used in the study. Immunoreactivity profiles were also compared between the groups. The results obtained showed the seroprevalence to be 11.76% in the group of forestry workers, 17.14% in the group of soldiers infected by tick bites and 8.57% in the population of healthy blood donors. The highest IgM reactivity was detected against the OspC protein, while IgG antibodies showed high reactivity against VlsE, p19, p41, OspC, OspA and p17. Further investigations in this field are necessary in humans and animals in order to improve protective and preventive measures against LD.</p> <![CDATA[Characterization of pectinase activity for enology from yeasts occurring in Argentine Bonarda grape]]> <p>Pectinolytic enzymes are greatly important in winemaking due to their ability to degrade pectic polymers from grape, contributing to enhance process efficiency and wine quality. This study aimed to analyze the occurrence of pectinolytic yeasts during spontaneous fermentation of Argentine Bonarda grape, to select yeasts that produce extracellular pectinases and to characterize their pectinolytic activity under wine-like conditions. Isolated yeasts were grouped using PCR-DGGE and identified by partial sequencing of 26S rRNA gene. Isolates comprised 7 genera, with <italic>Aureobasidium pullulans</italic> as the most predominant pectinolytic species, followed by <italic>Rhodotorula dairenensis</italic> and <italic>Cryptococcus saitoi</italic>. No pectinolytic activity was detected among ascomycetous yeasts isolated on grapes and during fermentation, suggesting a low occurrence of pectinolytic yeast species in wine fermentation ecosystem. This is the first study reporting <italic>R. dairenensis</italic> and <italic>Cr. saitoi</italic> species with pectinolytic activity. <italic>R. dairenensis</italic> GM-15 produced pectinases that proved to be highly active at grape pH, at 12 °C, and under ethanol and SO<sub>2</sub> concentrations usually found in vinifications (pectinase activity around 1.1 U/mL). This strain also produced cellulase activity at 12 °C and pH 3.5, but did not produce β-glucosidase activity under these conditions. The strain showed encouraging enological properties for its potential use in low-temperature winemaking.</p> <![CDATA[Optimization of growth and bacteriocin production by <italic>Lactobacillus sakei</italic> subsp. <italic>sakei</italic>2a]]> <p><italic>Lactobacillus sakei</italic> subsp. <italic>sakei</italic> 2a is a bacteriocinogenic lactic acid bacterium isolated from Brazilian pork sausage, capable of inhibiting the growth of microbial pathogens, mainly <italic>Listeria monocytogenes</italic>. In order to optimize bacteriocin production for industrial applications, this study evaluated the effect of supplementation of MRS broth with glucose, Tween 20, Tween 80, sodium citrate, potassium chloride and cysteine, and effect of the initial pH and temperature of incubation of the medium on production of bacteriocins by <italic>L. sakei</italic> 2a. Adding glucose and Tween 20 to the medium, an initial pH of 5.0 or 5.5, and incubation temperatures of 25 °C or 30 °C resulted to the highest bacteriocin yields. Thus, a 2<sup>4</sup> factorial design with the four variables was performed, and statistical analysis showed that it was an adequate model (<italic>R</italic><sup>2</sup> = 0.8296). In the studied range, the four parameters significantly influenced bacteriocin production, with the maximum yield produced at an initial pH between 5.5 and 7.0, a temperature between 25 and 30 °C and supplementation of the MRS broth with glucose from 3.25 to 6.0 g L<sup>−1</sup> and Tween 20 from 0.575 to 1.15% (v/v). Response Surface Methodology analysis indicated that the highest bacteriocin production (12800 AU mL<sup>−1</sup>) occurred in the MRS broth supplemented with 5.5 g L<sup>−1</sup> glucose and 1.05% Tween 20 at an initial pH of 6.28 and an incubation temperature of 25 °C. The amount of bacteriocin produced in commercial MRS broths under the same conditions was only 5600AU mL<sup>−1</sup>.</p> <![CDATA[Habituation of enterotoxigenic <italic>Staphylococcus aureus</italic> to <italic>Origanum vulgare</italic> L. essential oil does not induce direct-tolerance and cross-tolerance to salts and organic acids]]> <p>Enterotoxigenic <italic>Staphylococcus aureus</italic> strains that were isolated from foods were investigated for their ability to develop direct-tolerance and cross-tolerance to sodium chloride (NaCl), potassium chloride (KCl), lactic acid (LA) and acetic acid (AA) after habituation in sublethal amounts (1/2 of the minimum inhibitory concentration - 1/2 MIC and 1/4 of the minimum inhibitory concentration - 1/4 MIC) of <italic>Origanum vulgare</italic> L. essential oil (OVEO). The habituation of <italic>S. aureus</italic> to 1/2 MIC and 1/4 MIC of OVEO did not induce direct-tolerance or cross-tolerance in the tested strains, as assessed by modulation of MIC values. Otherwise, exposing the strains to OVEO at sublethal concentrations maintained or increased the sensitivity of the cells to the tested stressing agents because the MIC values of OVEO, NaCl, KCl, LA and AA against the cells that were previously habituated to OVEO remained the same or decreased when compared with non-habituated cells. These data indicate that OVEO does not have an inductive effect on the acquisition of direct-tolerance or cross-tolerance in the tested enterotoxigenic strains of <italic>S. aureus</italic> to antimicrobial agents that are typically used in food preservation.</p> <![CDATA[Low doses of gamma radiation in the management of postharvest <italic>Lasiodiplodia theobromae</italic> in mangos]]> <p>The postharvest life of mango is limited by the development of pathogens, especially fungi that cause rot, among which stands out the <italic>Lasiodiplodia theobromae</italic>. Several control methods have been employed to minimize the damages caused by this fungus, chemical control can leave residues to man and nature; physical control by the use of gamma radiation in combination with modified atmosphere and cold storage. The use of gamma radiation helps to reduce the severity of the pathogen assist in the ripening process of fruits, even at low doses (0.25, 0.35 and 0.45 kGy) chemical properties such as pH, soluble solids, acid ascorbic, titratable acidity and also the quality parameters of the pulp showed no damage that are ideal for trade and consumption of mangoes. This treatment can be extended for use in the management of diseases such as natural infections for penducular rot complex that has as one of <italic>L. theobroma</italic> pathogens involved.</p> <![CDATA[Use of green fluorescent protein to monitor <italic>Lactobacillus plantarum</italic> in the gastrointestinal tract of goats]]> <p>The experiment aimed to specifically monitor the passage of lactobacilli <italic>in vivo</italic> after oral administration. The green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene was cloned downstream from the constitutive p32 promoter from <italic>L. lactis subsp. cremoris</italic> Wg2. The recombinant expression vector, pLEM415-gfp-p32, was electroporated into <italic>Lactobacillus plantarum</italic> (<italic>L</italic>. <italic>plantarum</italic>) isolated from goat. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) was successfully expressed in <italic>L. plantarum</italic>. After 2 h post-administration, transformed <italic>Lactobacillus</italic> could be detectable in all luminal contents. In the rumen, bacteria concentration initially decreased, reached the minimum at 42 h post-oral administration and then increased. However, this concentration decreased constantly in the duodenum. This result indicated that <italic>L. plantarum</italic> could colonize in the rumen but not in the duodenum.</p> <![CDATA[Biosurfactant production by <italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic>in kefir and fish meal]]> <p>The aim of this study was to increase rhamnolipid production by formulating media using kefir and fish meal for <italic>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</italic> strains isolated from different environmental resources. The strains, named as H1, SY1, and ST1, capable of rhamnolipid production were isolated from soil contaminated with wastes originating from olive and fish oil factories. Additionally, <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic> ATCC 9027 strain, which is known as rhamnolipid producer, was included in the study. Initially, rhamnolipid production by the strains was determined in Mineral Salt Medium (MSM) and then in media prepared by using kefir and fish meal. The obtained rhamnolipids were purified and quantified according to <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B08">Dubois <italic>et al.</italic> (1956)</xref>. The quantity of rhamnolipids of ATCC, H1 and SY1 strains in kefir media were determined as 11.7 g/L, 10.8 g/L and 3.2 g/L, respectively, and in fish meal media as 12.3 g/L, 9.3 g/L and 10.3 g/L, respectively. In addition, effect of UV light exposure on rhamnolipid production was also investigated but contrary a decrease was observed. The results indicate that <italic>P. aeruginosa</italic> strains isolated from various environmental resources used in this study can be important due to their rhamnolipid yield, and fish meal, which is obtained from waste of fish, can be an alternative source in low cost rhamnolipid production.</p> <![CDATA[Assessment of the pathogenicity of cell-culture-adapted Newcastle disease virus strain Komarov]]> <p>Newcastle disease vaccines <italic>hitherto in vogue</italic> are produced from embryonated chicken eggs. Egg-adapted mesogenic vaccines possess several drawbacks such as paralysis and mortality in 2-week-old chicks and reduced egg production in the egg-laying flock. Owing to these possible drawbacks, we attempted to reduce the vaccine virulence for safe vaccination by adapting the virus in a chicken embryo fibroblast cell culture (CEFCC) system. Eighteen passages were carried out by CEFCC, and the pathogenicity was assessed on the basis of the mean death time, intracerebral pathogenicity index, and intravenous pathogenicity index, at equal passage intervals. Although the reduction in virulence demonstrated with increasing passage levels in CEFCC was encouraging, 20% of the 2-week-old birds showed paralytic symptoms with the virus vaccine from the 18<sup>th</sup>(final) passage. Thus, a tissue-culture-adapted vaccine would demand a few more passages by CEFCC in order to achieve a complete reduction in virulence for use as a safe and effective vaccine, especially among younger chicks. Moreover, it can be safely administered even to unprimed 8-week-old birds.</p> <![CDATA[Interspecific transmission of small ruminant lentiviruses from goats to sheep]]> <p>This study was conducted in order to evaluate the transmission of caprine lentivirus to sheep using different experimental groups. The first one (colostrum group) was formed by nine lambs receiving colostrum from goats positive for small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV). The second group (milk group) was established by nine lambs that received milk of these goats. Third was a control group, consisting of lambs that suckled colostrum and milk of negative mothers. Another experimental group (contact group) was formed by eight adult sheep, confined with two naturally infected goats. The groups were monitored by immunoblotting (IB), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), agar gel immunodiffusion (AGID) and nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR). All lambs that suckled colostrum and milk of infected goats and six sheep of the contact group had positive results in the nPCR, although seroconversion was detected only in three of the exposed animals, with no clinical lentiviruses manifestation, in 720 days of observation. There was a close relationship between viral sequences obtained from infected animals and the prototype CAEV-Cork. Thus, it was concluded that SRLV can be transmitted from goats to sheep, however, the degree of adaptation of the virus strain to the host species probably interferes with the infection persistence and seroconversion rate.</p> <![CDATA[Invasin <italic>gimB</italic> found in a bovine intestinal <italic>Escherichia coli</italic> with an adherent and invasive profile]]> <p>The invasin <italic>gimB</italic> (genetic island associated with human newborn meningitis) is usually found in ExPEC (Extraintestinal Pathogenic <italic>Escherichia coli</italic>) such as UPEC (uropathogenic <italic>E. coli</italic>), NMEC (neonatal meningitis <italic>E. coli</italic>) and APEC (avian pathogenic <italic>E. coli</italic>). In NMEC, <italic>gimB</italic> is associated with the invasion process of the host cells. Due to the importance of <italic>E. coli</italic> as a zoonotic agent and the scarce information about the frequency of <italic>gimB</italic>-carrying strains in different animal species, the aim of this study was to investigate the presence of <italic>gimB</italic> in isolates from bovine, swine, canine and feline clinical samples. PCR was conducted on 196 isolates and the identity of the amplicons was confirmed by sequencing. Of the samples tested, only <italic>E. coli</italic> SB278/94 from a bovine specimen was positive (1/47) for <italic>gimB</italic>, which represents 2.1% of the bovine isolates. The ability of SB278/94 to adhere to and invade eukaryotic cells was confirmed by adherence and gentamicin-protection assays using HeLa cells. This is the first study that investigates for <italic>gimB</italic> in bovine, canine and feline <italic>E. coli</italic> isolates and shows <italic>E. coli</italic> from the intestinal-bovine samples harboring <italic>gimB</italic>.</p> <![CDATA[Detection of <italic>Rickettsia bellii</italic> and <italic>Rickettsia amblyommii</italic> in <italic>Amblyomma longirostre</italic> (Acari: Ixodidae) from Bahia state, Northeast Brazil]]> <p>Studies investigating rickettsial infections in ticks parasitizing wild animals in the Northeast region of Brazil have been confined to the detection of <italic>Rickettsia amblyommii</italic> in immature stages of <italic>Amblyomma longirostre</italic> collected from birds in the state of Bahia, and in immatures and females of <italic>Amblyomma auricularium</italic>collected from the striped hog-nosed skunk (<italic>Conepatus semistriatus</italic>) and armadillos (<italic>Euphractus sexcinctus</italic>) in the state of Pernambuco. The current study extends the distribution of <italic>R. amblyommii</italic> (strain Aranha), which was detected in <italic>A. longirostre</italic> collected from the thin-spined porcupine <italic>Chaetomys subspinosus</italic> and the hairy dwarf porcupine <italic>Coendou insidiosus</italic>. In addition, we report the first detection of <italic>Rickettsia bellii</italic> in adults of <italic>A. longirostre</italic> collected from <italic>C. insidiosus</italic> in the state of Bahia.</p> <![CDATA[Characterization of mannitol-fermenting methicillin-resistant staphylococci isolated from pigs in Nigeria]]> <p>This study was conducted to determine the species distribution, antimicrobial resistance pheno- and genotypes and virulence traits of mannitol-positive methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS) isolated from pigs in Nsukka agricultural zone, Nigeria. Twenty mannitol-positive methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococcal (MRCoNS) strains harboring the <italic>mecA</italic> gene were detected among the 64 <italic>Staphylococcus</italic> isolates from 291 pigs. A total of 4 species were identified among the MRCoNS isolates, namely, <italic>Staphylococcus sciuri</italic> (10 strains), <italic>Staphylococcus lentus</italic> (6 strains), <italic>Staphylococcus cohnii</italic> (3 strains) and <italic>Staphylococcus haemolyticus</italic> (one strain). All MRCoNS isolates were multidrug-resistant. In addition to β-lactams, the strains were resistant to fusidic acid (85%), tetracycline (75%), streptomycin (65%), ciprofloxacin (65%), and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole (60%). In addition to the <italic>mecA</italic> and <italic>blaZ</italic> genes, other antimicrobial resistance genes detected were <italic>tet</italic>(K), <italic>tet</italic>(M), <italic>tet</italic>(L), <italic>erm</italic>(B), <italic>erm</italic>(C), <italic>aacA-aphD</italic>, <italic>aphA3</italic>, <italic>str</italic>, <italic>dfrK</italic>, <italic>dfr</italic>G, <italic>cat</italic><sub>pC221</sub>, and <italic>cat</italic><sub>pC223</sub>. Thirteen isolates were found to be ciprofloxacin-resistant, and all harbored a Ser84Leu mutation within the QRDR of the GyrA protein, with 3 isolates showing 2 extra substitutions, Ser98Ile and Arg100Lys (one strain) and Glu88Asp and Asp96Thr (2 strains). A phylogenetic tree of the QRDR nucleotide sequences in the <italic>gyrA</italic> gene revealed a high nucleotide diversity, with several major clusters not associated with the bacterial species. Our study highlights the possibility of transfer of <italic>mecA</italic> and other antimicrobial resistance genes from MRCoNS to pathogenic bacteria, which is a serious public health and veterinary concern.</p> <![CDATA[The use of date waste for lactic acid production by a fed-batch culture using <italic>Lactobacillus casei</italic> subsp. <italic>rhamnosus</italic>]]> <p>The production of lactic acid from date juice by <italic>Lactobacillus casei</italic>subsp. <italic>rhamnosus</italic> in batch and fed-batch cultures has been investigated. The fed-batch culture system gave better results for lactic acid production and volumetric productivity. The aim of this work is to determine the effects of the feeding rate and the concentration of the feeding medium containing date juice glucose on the cell growth, the consumption of glucose and the lactic acid production by <italic>Lactobacillus casei</italic> subsp. <italic>rhamnosus</italic> in fed-batch cultures. For this study, two concentrations of the feeding medium (62 and 100 g/L of date juice glucose) were tested at different feeding rates (18, 22, 33, 75 and 150 mL/h). The highest volumetric productivity (1.3 g/L.h) and lactic acid yield (1.7 g/g) were obtained at a feeding rate of 33 mL/h and a date juice glucose concentration of 62 g/L in the feeding medium. As a result, most of the date juice glucose was completely utilised (residual glucose 1 g/L), and a maximum lactic acid production level (89.2 g/L) was obtained.</p> <![CDATA[Thermotolerant and mesophylic fungi from sugarcane bagasse and their prospection for biomass-degrading enzyme production]]> <p>Nineteen fungi and seven yeast strains were isolated from sugarcane bagasse piles from an alcohol plant located at Brazilian Cerrado and identified up to species level on the basis of the gene sequencing of 5.8S-ITS and 26S ribosomal DNA regions. Four species were identified: <italic>Kluyveromyces marxianus</italic>, <italic>Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus sydowii</italic> and <italic>Aspergillus fumigatus</italic>, and the isolates were screened for the production of key enzymes in the saccharification of lignocellulosic material. Among them, three strains were selected as good producers of hemicellulolitic enzymes: <italic>A. niger (</italic>SBCM3), <italic>A. sydowii</italic> (SBCM7) and <italic>A. fumigatus (</italic>SBC4). The best β-xylosidase producer was <italic>A. niger</italic> SBCM3 strain. This crude enzyme presented optimal activity at pH 3.5 and 55 °C (141 U/g). For β-glucosidase and xylanase the best producer was <italic>A. fumigatus</italic> SBC4 strain, whose enzymes presented maximum activity at 60 °C and pH 3.5 (54 U/g) and 4.0 (573 U/g), respectively. All these crude enzymes presented stability around pH 3.0–8.0 and up to 60 °C, which can be very useful in industrial processes that work at high temperatures and low pHs. These enzymes also exhibited moderate tolerance to ethanol and the sugars glucose and xylose. These similar characteristics among these fungal crude enzymes suggest that they can be used synergistically in cocktails in future studies of biomass conversion with potential application in several biotechnological sectors.</p> <![CDATA[Enhancing inulinase yield by irradiation mutation associated with optimization of culture conditions]]> <p>A new inulinase-producing strain was isolated from rhizosphere soils of Jerusalem artichoke collected from Shihezi (Xinjiang, China) using Jerusalem artichoke power (JAP) as sole carbon source. It was identified as an <italic>Aspergillus niger</italic> strain by analysis of 16S rRNA. To improve inulinase production, this fungus was subjected to mutagenesis induced by <sup>60</sup>Co γ-irradiation. A genetically stable mutant (designated E12) was obtained and it showed 2.7-fold higher inulinase activity (128 U/mL) than the parental strain in the supernatant of a submerged culture. Sequential methodology was used to optimize the inulinase production of stain E12. A screening trial was first performed using Plackett-Burman design and variables with statistically significant effects on inulinase bio-production were identified. These significant factors were further optimized by central composite design experiments and response surface methodology. Finally, it was found that the maximum inulinase production (185 U/mL) could be achieved under the optimized conditions namely pH 7.0, yeast extract concentration of 5.0 g/L, JAP concentration of 66.5 g/L, peptone concentration of 29.1 g/L, solution volume of 49.4 mL in 250-mL shake flasks, agitation speed of 180 rpm, and fermentation time of 60 h. The yield of inulinase under optimized culture conditions was approximately 1.4-fold of that obtained by using basal culture medium. These findings are of significance for the potential industrial application of the mutant E12.</p> <![CDATA[Characterization of <italic>Francisella</italic> species isolated from the cooling water of an air conditioning system]]> <p>Strains of <italic>Francisella</italic> spp. were isolated from cooling water from an air conditioning system in Guangzhou, China. These strains are Gram negative, coccobacilli, non-motile, oxidase negative, catalase negative, esterase and lipid esterase positive. In addition, these bacteria grow on cysteine-supplemented media at 20 °C to 40 °C with an optimal growth temperature of 30 °C. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that these strains belong to the genus <italic>Francisella</italic>. Biochemical tests and phylogenetic and BLAST analyses of 16S rRNA, <italic>rpoB</italic> and <italic>sdhA</italic> genes indicated that one strain was very similar to <italic>Francisella philomiragia</italic> and that the other strains were identical or highly similar to the <italic>Francisella guangzhouensis</italic> sp. nov. strain 08HL01032 we previously described. Biochemical and molecular characteristics of these strains demonstrated that multiple <italic>Francisella</italic> species exist in air conditioning systems.</p> <![CDATA[Characterization of the <italic>hrpZ</italic> gene from <italic>Pseudomonas syringae</italic> pv. <italic>maculicola</italic>M2]]> <p><italic>Pseudomonas syringae</italic> pv. <italic>maculicola</italic> is a natural pathogen of members of the Brassicaceae plant family. Using a transposon-based mutagenesis strategy in <italic>Pseudomonas syringae</italic>pv. <italic>maculicola</italic> M2 (PsmM2), we conducted a genetic screen to identify mutants that were capable of growing in M9 medium supplemented with a crude extract from the leaves of <italic>Arabidopsis thaliana</italic>. A mutant containing a transposon insertion in the <italic>hrpZ</italic> gene (PsmMut8) was unable to infect adult plants from <italic>Arabidopsis thaliana</italic> or <italic>Brassica oleracea</italic>, suggesting a loss of pathogenicity. The promotorless <italic>cat</italic> reporter present in the gene trap was expressed if PsmMut8 was grown in minimal medium (M9) supplemented with the leaf extract but not if grown in normal rich medium (KB). We conducted phylogenetic analysis using <italic>hrpAZB</italic> genes, showing the classical 5-clade distribution, and nucleotide diversity analysis, showing the putative position for selective pressure in this operon. Our results indicate that the <italic>hrpAZB</italic> operon from <italic>Pseudomonas syringae</italic>pv. <italic>maculicola</italic> M2 is necessary for its pathogenicity and that its diversity would be under host-mediated diversifying selection.</p> <![CDATA[Morphological changes and growth of filamentous fungi in the presence of high concentrations of PAHs]]> <p>In this study, we evaluated the effect of low and high molecular weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), <italic>i.e.</italic>, Phenanthrene, Pyrene and Benzo[a]pyrene, on the radial growth and morphology of the PAH-degrading fungal strains <italic>Aspergillus nomius</italic> H7 and <italic>Trichoderma asperellum</italic> H15. The presence of PAHs in solid medium produced significant detrimental effects on the radial growth of <italic>A. nomius</italic> H7 at 4,000 and 6,000 mg L<sup>−1</sup> and changes in mycelium pigmentation, abundance and sporulation ability at 1,000–6,000 mg L<sup>−1</sup>. In contrast, the radial growth of <italic>T. asperellum</italic> H15 was not affected at any of the doses tested, although sporulation was observed only up to 4,000 mg L<sup>−1</sup> and as with the H7 strain, some visible changes in sporulation patterns and mycelium pigmentation were observed. Our results suggest that fungal strains exposed to high doses of PAHs significantly vary in their growth rates and sporulation characteristics in response to the physiological and defense mechanisms that affect both pigment production and conidiation processes. This finding is relevant for obtaining a better understanding of fungal adaptation in PAH-polluted environments and for developing and implementing adequate strategies for the remediation of contaminated soils.</p>