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Dhar B.C.,University of Camerino | Cimarelli L.,University of Camerino | Saurabh Singh K.,University of Camerino | Brandi L.,University of Camerino | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2015

A few diatom species produce toxins that affect human and animal health. Among these, members of the Pseudo-nitzschia genus were the first diatoms unambiguously identified as producer of domoic acid, a neurotoxin affecting molluscan shell-fish, birds, marine mammals, and humans. Evidence exists indicating the involvement of another diatom genus, Amphora, as a potential producer of domoic acid. We present a strategy for the detection of the diatom species Amphora coffeaeformis based on the development of species-specific oligonucleotide probes and their application in microarray hybridization experiments. This approach is based on the use of two marker genes highly conserved in all diatoms, but endowed with sufficient genetic divergence to discriminate diatoms at the species level. A region of approximately 450 bp of these previously unexplored marker genes, coding for elongation factor 1-a (eEF1-a) and silicic acid transporter (SIT), was used to design oligonucleotide probes that were tested for specificity in combination with the corresponding fluorescently labeled DNA targets. The results presented in this work suggest a possible use of this DNA chip technology for the selective detection of A. coffeaeformis in environmental settings where the presence of this potential toxin producer may represent a threat to human and animal health. In addition, the same basic approach can be adapted to a wider range of diatoms for the simultaneous detection of microorganisms used as biomarkers of different water quality levels. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Marcheggiani S.,Quality and Fishfarm Unit | D'Ugo E.,Quality and Fishfarm Unit | Puccinelli C.,Quality and Fishfarm Unit | Giuseppetti R.,Quality and Fishfarm Unit | And 9 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2015

Current knowledge about the spread of pathogens in aquatic environments is scarce probably because bacteria, viruses, algae and their toxins tend to occur at low concentrations in water, making them very difficult to measure directly. The purpose of this study was the development and validation of tools to detect pathogens in freshwater systems close to an urban area. In order to evaluate anthropogenic impacts on water microbiological quality, a phylogenetic microarray was developed in the context of the EU project μAQUA to detect simultaneously numerous pathogens and applied to samples from two different locations close to an urban area located upstream and downstream of Rome in the Tiber River. Furthermore, human enteric viruses were also detected. Fifty liters of water were collected and concentrated using a hollow-fiber ultrafiltration approach. The resultant concentrate was further size-fractionated through a series of decreasing pore size filters. RNA was extracted from pooled filters and hybridized to the newly designed microarray to detect pathogenic bacteria, protozoa and toxic cyanobacteria. Diatoms as indicators of the water quality status, were also included in the microarray to evaluate water quality. The microarray results gave positive signals for bacteria, diatoms, cyanobacteria and protozoa. Cross validation of the microarray was performed using standard microbiological methods for the bacteria. The presence of oral-fecal transmitted human enteric-viruses were detected using q-PCR. Significant concentrations of Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter and Staphylococcus as well as Hepatitis E Virus (HEV), noroviruses GI (NoGGI) and GII (NoGII) and human adenovirus 41 (ADV 41) were found in the Mezzocammino site, whereas lower concentrations of other bacteria and only the ADV41 virus was recovered at the Castel Giubileo site. This study revealed that the pollution level in the Tiber River was considerably higher downstream rather than upstream of Rome and the downstream location was contaminated by emerging and reemerging pathogens. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

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