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Microscopic and molecular studies of the diversity of free-living protozoa in meat-cutting plants.

ABSTRACT: The diversity of free-living protozoa in five meat-cutting plants was determined. Light microscopy after enrichment culturing was combined with sequencing of PCR-amplified, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE)-separated 18S rRNA gene fragments, which was used as a fast screening method. The general results of the survey showed that a protozoan community of amoebae, ciliates, and flagellates was present in all of the plants. Protozoa were detected mainly in floor drains, in standing water on the floor, on soiled bars of cutting tables, on plastic pallets, and in out-of-use hot water knife sanitizers, but they were also detected on surfaces which come into direct contact with meat, such as conveyer belts, working surfaces of cutting tables, and needles of a meat tenderizer. After 7 days of incubation at refrigerator temperature, protozoa were detected in about one-half of the enrichment cultures. Based on microscopic observations, 61 morphospecies were found, and Bodo saltans, Bodo spp., Epistylis spp., Glaucoma scintillans, Petalomonas spp., Prodiscophrya collini, and Vannella sp. were the most frequently encountered identified organisms. Sequencing of DGGE bands resulted in identification of a total of 49 phylotypes, including representatives of the Amoebozoa, Chromalveolata, Excavata, Opisthokonta, and Rhizaria. Sequences of small heterotrophic flagellates were affiliated mainly with the Alveolata (Apicomplexa), Stramenopiles (Chrysophyceae), and Rhizaria (Cercozoa). This survey showed that there is high protozoan species richness in meat-cutting plants and that the species included species related to known hosts of food-borne pathogens.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2547033 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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