Isolation, identification and characterization of yeasts-like organisms

Description of the research

One of the activities of the DBVPG Collection is related to the study and conservation of Prototheca spp. strains, isolated from the barns environment of cattle farms (milk, litter, faeces, drinking and washing water, swabs).

The Prototheca genus includes unicellular, yeast-like, chlorophyll-free micro-algae, taxonomically related to the Chlorella genus. This genus was described in 1894 and, based on the latest taxonomic revision (sequencing of the mitochondrial cytb gene), includes 14 species: Prototheca blaschkeae, Prototheca bovis, Prototheca cerasi, Prototheca ciferrii, Prototheca cookei, Prototheca cutis, Prototheca miyajii, Prototheca moriformis, Prototheca pringsheimii, Prototheca stagnora, Prototheca tumulicola, Prototheca wickerhamii, Prototheca xanthoriae and Prototheca zopfii.

Strains of the Prototheca genus are typically associated with wetlands containing manure and decaying plant material. They have also been isolated from running and still water, water tanks, silage waste water, wells, washing water, water from purification plants, milking equipment and fodder for cattle feeding. Strains of Prototheca spp. were also isolated from environmental sites (soil, water, mouse faeces) contiguous to farms contaminated by these micro-algae, indicating that the cells of Prototheca spp. have to be considered widely dispersed in barns environment.

Some species of Prototheca genus can cause infections in both humans and animals. Human prototecosis is predominantly associated with the species P. wickerhamii; in contrast, bovine mastitis (the most common protothecosis in animals) is mainly caused by P. bovis and P. blaschkeae.

Bovine mastitis caused by Prototheca spp. is considered a problem of increasing gravity on a global scale and the effectiveness of antibiotic therapies is still controversial.

That was the reason why the researchers of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences working in the DBVPG Collection investigated the presence of Prototheca within various Italian farms, characterizing their diversity and preserving the isolated strains within the collection. Furthermore, some bioactive molecules have been tested in vitro as possible means for controlling the spread of pathogenic Prototheca species.

Papers published on the subject in the last 5 years

T. Jagielski, C. Casciari, V. Cambiotti, H. Krukowski, B. Turchetti, M. Ricchi, E. Manuali, P. Buzzini (2017)
A comparative study of the in vitro activity of iodopropynyl butylcarbamate and amphotericin B against Prototheca spp. isolates from European dairy herds. Journal of Dairy Science 100:7435–7445; DOI: 10.3168/jds.2017-12597.

Papers published on the subject in the last 5 years

K.L. Boundy-Mills, E. Glantschnig, I.N. Roberts, A. Yurkov, S. Casaregola, H.-M. Daniel, M. Groenewald, B. Turchetti (2016). Yeast culture collections in the twenty-first century: new opportunities and challenges. Yeast 33:243–260; DOI: 10.1002/yea.3171.

L. França, C. Sannino, B. Turchetti, P. Buzzini, R. Margesin (2016) Seasonal and altitudinal changes of culturable bacterial and yeast diversity in Alpine forest soils. Extremophiles 20:855–873; DOI: 10.1007/s00792-016-0874-2.

L. Mokhtarnejad, M. Arzanlou, A. Babai-Ahari, S. Di Mauro, A. Onofri, P. Buzzini, B. Turchetti (2016) Characterization of basidiomycetous yeasts in hypersaline soils of the Urmia Lake National Park Iran. Extremophiles 20:915–928; DOI: 10.1007/s00792-016-0883-1.

A. Trochine, B. Turchetti, A.B. Vaz, L. Brandao, L. Rosa, P. Buzzini, C. Rosa, D. Libkind (2017) Description of Dioszegia patagonica sp. nov., a novel carotenogenic yeast isolated from cold environments. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 67(11):4332-4339; DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.002211.

B. Turchetti, L. Selbmann, N. Gunde-Cimerman, P. Buzzini, J.P. Sampaio, P. Zalar (2018). Cystobasidium alpinum sp. nov. and Rhodosporidiobolus oreadorum sp. nov. from European Cold Environments and Arctic Region. Life 8(2):9; DOI: 10.3390/life8020009.

A. V. Kachalkin, B. Turchetti, J. Inácio, C. Carvalho, T. Mašínová, A. Pontes, O. Röhl, A. M. Glushakova, A. Akulov, P. Baldrian, D. Begerow, P. Buzzini, J. P. Sampaio, A. M. Yurkov (2019) Rare and undersampled dimorphic basidiomycetes. Mycological Progress 18:945–971; DOI: 10.1007/s11557-019-01491-5.

A. M. Yurkov, C. Sannino, B. Turchetti (2019) Mrakia fibulata sp. nov., a psychrotolerant yeast from temperate and cold habitats. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 113(4):499-510; DOI: 10.1007/s10482-019-01359-4.

L. De Vero 1, M.B. Boniotti, M. Budroni, P. Buzzini, S. Cassanelli, R. Comunian, M. Gullo, A.F. Logrieco, I. Mannazzu, R. Musumeci, I. Perugini, G. Perrone, A. Pulvirenti, P. Romano, B. Turchetti, G.C. Varese (2019) Preservation, Characterization and Exploitation of Microbial Biodiversity: The Perspective of the Italian Network of Culture Collections. Microorganisms. 7,685; DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms7120685.

A.-H. Li, F.-X. Yuan, M. Groenewald, K. Bensch, A.M. Yurkov, K. Li, P.-J. Han, L.-D. Guo, M.C. Aime, J.P. Sampaio, S. Jindamorakot, B. Turchetti, J. Inacio, B. Fungsin, Q.-M. Wang, F.-Y. Bai (2020) Diversity and phylogeny of basidiomycetous yeasts from plant leaves and soil: Proposal of two new orders, three new families, eight new genera and one hundred and seven new species. Studies in Mycology 96:17-140; DOI: 10.1016/j.simyco.2020.01.002.

G. Verkley, G. Perrone, M. Pina, A.H. Scholz, J. Overmann, A. Zuzuarregui, I. Perugini, B. Turchetti, M. Hendrickx, G. Stacey, S. Law, J. Russell, D. Smith, N. Lima (2020). New ECCO model documents for Material Deposit and Transfer Agreements in compliance with the Nagoya Protocol. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 367(5), fnaa044; DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fnaa044.

B. Turchetti, C. Sannino, A. Mezzasoma, L. Zucconi, S. Onofri, P. Buzzini (2020). Mrakia stelviica sp. nov. and Mrakia montana sp. nov., two novel basidiomycetous yeast species isolated from cold environments. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 70(8), 4704-4713; DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.004336.

A. Yurkov, A. Alves, F-Y Bai, K. Boundy-Mills, P. Buzzini, N. Čadež, ……, B. Turchetti, Q-M Wang, T. Boekhout (2021) Nomenclatural issues concerning cultured yeasts and other fungi: why it is important to avoid unneeded name changes. IMA Fungus 12:18; DOI: 10.1186/s43008-021-00067-x.

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