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TitleWidespread environmental contamination with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex revealed by a molecular detection protocol
Author(s)Santos, Nuno M. S.
Santos, Catarina
Valente, Teresa Maria Fernandes
Gortázar, Christian
Almeida, Virgílio
Neves, Margarida Correia
Issue date2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLOS)
JournalPLoS ONE
CitationSantos, N., Santos, C., Valente, T., Gortazar, C., Almeida, V., & Correia-Neves, M. (2015). Widespread Environmental Contamination with Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex Revealed by a Molecular Detection Protocol. Plos One, 10(11). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142079
Abstract(s)Environmental contamination with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) has been considered crucial for bovine tuberculosis persistence in multi-host-pathogen systems. However, MTC contamination has been difficult to detect due to methodological issues. In an attempt to overcome this limitation we developed an improved protocol for the detection of MTC DNA. MTC DNA concentration was estimated by the Most Probable Number (MPN) method. Making use of this protocol we showed that MTC contamination is widespread in different types of environmental samples from the Iberian Peninsula, which supports indirect transmission as a contributing mechanism for the maintenance of bovine tuberculosis in this multi-host-pathogen system. The proportion of MTC DNA positive samples was higher in the bovine tuberculosis-infected than in presumed negative area (0.32 and 0.18, respectively). Detection varied with the type of environmental sample and was more frequent in sediment from dams and less frequent in water also from dams (0.22 and 0.05, respectively). The proportion of MTC-positive samples was significantly higher in spring (p<0.001), but MTC DNA concentration per sample was higher in autumn and lower in summer. The average MTC DNA concentration in positive samples was 0.82 MPN/g (CI95 0.70-0.98 MPN/g). We were further able to amplify a DNA sequence specific of Mycobacterium bovis/caprae in 4 environmental samples from the bTB-infected area.
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CCT - Artigos (Papers)/Papers
ICVS - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais com Referee

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