Chapter 28 : Protozoan Parasites

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Protozoan parasites have long been associated with foodborne and waterborne outbreaks of disease in humans. Difficulties arise with the inactivation of these organisms because of their resistance to environmental stresses. A major characteristic of apicomplexan parasites is that a vertebrate host is required to complete the complex life cycle and produce infectious cysts. Of this group, species, , and , and frequently inhabit the intestinal mucosa and produce diarrheal illnesses in humans. The life cycle stages of apicomplexan parasites are produced intracellularly in the host. For , , and , sporogony typically occurs outside the host, requiring the passage of time before oocysts are infective to a new host, while oocysts excreted already are sporulated and are infectious when shed. Cryptosporidiosis is acquired after ingesting food or water contaminated with infective oocysts. Cyclosporiasis is characterized by mild to severe nausea, anorexia, abdominal cramping, mild fever, and watery diarrhea. The only successful antimicrobial treatment for is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX). Toxoplasmosis can be acquired by ingestion of lamb, poultry, horse, and wild game animals. Patients with muscular sarcocystosis present with musculoskeletal pain, fever, rash, cardiomyopathy, bronchospasm, and subcutaneous swelling. Inactivation of the protozoan parasites has been a challenging task. Molecular tools such as PCR, restriction fragment length polymorphism, and variations of these techniques are being developed to improve the sensitivity and specificity of detection and identification processes.

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Image of Figure 28.1
Figure 28.1

Scanning electron micrographs of oocysts and excysting sporozoites of . (A) Intact oocyst prior to excystation (×11,200). (B) Three sporozoites (Sp) excysting from oocyst simultaneously via the cleaved suture (Su) (×11,200). (C) Empty oocyst (×11,200). (D) Excysted sporozoite (×9,800). Ae, apical end. From Reduker et al. ( ). doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f1

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Image of Figure 28.2
Figure 28.2

Life cycle of . From Dubey et al. ( ). doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f2

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Figure 28.3

Acid-fast staining. (A) . (B) . (C) . (Bars = 20 μm.) doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f3

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Figure 28.4

oocysts. (A) Phase-contrast microscopy of unsporulated oocysts. (B) Oocysts (OO) in the process of excystation. Note the two sporozoites (SP) free of the sporocyst (SC). (C) Transmission electron microscopy of human small intestine showing intracellular stages. ME, merozoite. doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f4

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Image of Figure 28.5
Figure 28.5

Bright-field photomicrograph of oocysts unsporulated (A) and sporulated (B). doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f5

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Image of Figure 28.6
Figure 28.6

Life cycle of . From Dubey and Beattie ( ). doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f6

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Figure 28.7

Transmission electron micrographs of . (A) Sporozoite in parasitophorous vacuole (Pv) of host cell (Hc) at 24 h after inoculation. Am, amylopectin granule; Co, conoid; Mn, microneme; Nu, nucleus of sporozoite; Rh, rhoptry. (B) Final stage of endodyogeny to form two daughter tachyzoites that are still attached to the posterior ends (arrowheads). DG, dense granules; HC, host cell; IT, intravacuolar tubules; M, mitochondrion; MC, microneme; MI, micropore; N, nucleus; RO, rhoptry. From Dubey and Beattie ( ). doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f7

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Figure 28.8

Scanning electron micrograph of trophozoites. One trophozoite shows the dorsal surface and the other shows the ventral surface with sucking disk and flagella. doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f8

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Figure 28.9

Hematoxylin and eosin staining. (A) cyst: (a) with two nuclei and trophozoite; (b) showing two nuclei and median body visible at one pole. (B) cyst: (a) showing large macronucleus and cilia beneath cyst wall and trophozoite; (b) showing oval macronucleus. (C) trophozoite: (a) showing a nucleus and few red blood cells in the cytoplasm and cyst; (b) showing two of four nuclei and rod-shaped inclusion bodies with rounded ends. (Courtesy of Lynne S. Garcia.) doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch28f9

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28
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Table 28.1

Protozoa of medical importance acquired from food and water

Citation: Ortega Y. 2013. Protozoan Parasites, p 713-733. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch28

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