Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rare toxic algae identified

Date:
May 13, 2010
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Scientists have identified an unusual species of pathogenic algae that causes human skin infections. The finding should improve our understanding of how rare species of algae are sometimes able to cause serious disease in humans and animals.

Scientists have identified an unusual species of pathogenic algae that causes human skin infections, described in a new study in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The finding should improve our understanding of how rare species of algae are sometimes able to cause serious disease in humans and animals.

Researchers from Teikyo University in Tokyo isolated a previously unidentified species of microalgae from a biopsy of a human chronic skin ulcer. They named the micro-organism Prototheca cutis after comparison with other strains showed it was genetically similar to Prototheca wickerhamii -- a rare algal species that has previously been associated with causing human skin infection, septicemia, or meningitis.

Microalgae are a very diverse group of single-celled organisms that are found living in most aquatic environments on Earth. Most algae possess chloroplasts enabling them to fix sunlight into biomass through photosynthesis and are completely harmless to humans. However, Prototheca species that reside in sewage water and soil, do not photosynthesise and may occasionally cause infection in immunocompromised humans and other animals by entering open wounds. Skin infections such as discharging ulcers are the most common in humans although occasionally serious systemic infections may occur.

Dr Koichi Makimura who led the team of researchers explained that because there have been so few reported cases of algal infections in humans, effective treatment protocols have not been well-established. "Antifungal drugs are most often used to treat algal infections but are not always successful," he said. "We need to closely monitor Prototheca infections to understand their spread and mechanisms of causing disease, which are as yet unknown. This information will then help us develop appropriate treatments."

Research into pathogenic algae could also have benefits for industry. "Prototheca infection is known to cause bovine mastitis in cattle -- an inflammatory disease of the udder that costs the dairy industry millions of pounds each year," explained Dr Kazuo Satoh who conducted the study. "New strategies to control this disease could have a huge economic impact," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kazuo Satoh, Kenji Ooe, Hirotoshi Nagayama and Koichi Makimura. Prototheca cutis sp. nov., a newly discovered pathogen of protothecosis isolated from inflamed human skin. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, 2010; 60 (5): 1236 DOI: 10.1099/ijs.0.016402-0

Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Rare toxic algae identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510201231.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2010, May 13). Rare toxic algae identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510201231.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Rare toxic algae identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510201231.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) — A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) — Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins