Cultivable internal bacterial flora of ticks isolated in Hungary

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Abstract

From six sampling sites in north-western Hungary 126 questing ticks of three species (Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor reticulatus, Haemaphysalis concinna) were sampled. After inactivating the external bacteria on the surface of ticks, the internal bacterial flora was cultured (two kinds of agar media at three temperatures with aerobic and anaerobic conditions were applied), and 116 strains were isolated. Our results showed, that after a blood meal the bacterial contamination of ticks was much higher in Ixodes and Dermacentor, than in Haemaphysalis, indicating different host range or blood meal habits. Most (89.7 %) of the bacteria were Gram-positive, the most frequent genera were the Staphylococcus (18.1 %) and Bacillus (7.8 %). The percentage of bacteria part of the skin and mucosal flora was 21.6 %. Among the environmental bacteria 14 were found with reported medical importance. The results show, that members of some genera are able to replicate inside the ticks (Mycobacterium, Bacillus) which can increase their potential risk. Isolated bacteria/tick ratio continuously grew from larvae to adults, indicating that larvae probably are hatched sterile, but later bacterial uptake from the environment and from the hosts increases bacterial contamination. Ten anaerobic bacteria were cultured, mostly Propionibacterium acnes, a facultative skin pathogen. No significant differences were found between the isolated bacteria of the six sampling sites. Our work showed, that internal bacterial community of ticks is diverse, novel strains were isolated several with medical importance, some bacteria multiplicate inside ticks, and that ticks continuously take up bacteria from the environment. Our study first described anaerobic bacteria from ticks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • 16S rRNA gene PCR
  • Anaerobic bacteria
  • Cultivable bacteria
  • Human infections
  • Tick species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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