Biochemical Test of Edwardsiella tarda
Edwardsiella tarda is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae. It is a facultative anaerobe, meaning that it can grow both in the presence and absence of oxygen. It is also motile by peritrichous flagella, which are hair-like structures that allow it to swim in liquid environments.
Edwardsiella tarda is widely distributed in nature and can be found in various aquatic habitats, such as freshwater, brackish water, seawater, and sediments. It is also a common inhabitant of the intestinal tract of many animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. It can cause diseases in both humans and animals, especially in immunocompromised or stressed hosts.
Edwardsiella tarda is an important pathogen of fish and causes edwardsiellosis, which is characterized by hemorrhagic septicemia, ulcerative lesions, and systemic infections. It can affect both cultured and wild fish species, such as eels, catfish, tilapia, salmon, trout, and carp. Edwardsiellosis can result in significant economic losses for the aquaculture industry worldwide.
Edwardsiella tarda can also infect humans and cause gastroenteritis, wound infections, septicemia, meningitis, and urinary tract infections. Human infections are usually associated with exposure to contaminated water or consumption of raw or undercooked seafood. The incidence of human edwardsiellosis is low but may be underestimated due to the lack of specific diagnostic methods.
Edwardsiella tarda is a versatile bacterium that can adapt to different environmental conditions and host factors. It has a large genome that encodes various virulence factors, such as adhesins, toxins, iron acquisition systems, secretion systems, and resistance mechanisms. It can also undergo phenotypic changes, such as biofilm formation and antigenic variation, to evade host immune responses and persist in the host tissues.
In this article, we will focus on the biochemical characteristics of Edwardsiella tarda, especially its fermentation and enzymatic reactions. These biochemical tests are useful for the identification and differentiation of Edwardsiella tarda from other related bacteria. They can also provide insights into the metabolic capabilities and ecological roles of this bacterium.
Edwardsiella tarda is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped, facultative anaerobic bacterium that belongs to the family Enterobacteriaceae. It is widely distributed in aquatic environments and can infect various animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. It can also cause opportunistic infections in humans, especially in immunocompromised patients or those with underlying diseases. Some of the common clinical manifestations of Edwardsiella tarda infection are gastroenteritis, wound infection, septicemia, meningitis and osteomyelitis.
Edwardsiella tarda can grow on various culture media, such as blood agar, MacConkey agar and eosin methylene blue agar. It produces smooth, round, convex and translucent colonies with a diameter of 2-3 mm after 24 hours of incubation at 37°C. It is motile by peritrichous flagella and can produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from thiosulfate. It is also catalase-positive and oxidase-negative.
Edwardsiella tarda can be differentiated from other members of the Enterobacteriaceae family by its biochemical properties. It can ferment glucose, lactose, sucrose and mannitol, but not sorbitol or dulcitol. It can also utilize citrate as a sole carbon source and produce indole from tryptophan. It is positive for lysine decarboxylase (LDC), ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), arginine dihydrolase (ADH) and urease tests. It is negative for methyl red (MR), Voges-Proskauer (VP), phenylalanine deaminase (PAD) and nitrate reduction tests.
The biochemical properties of Edwardsiella tarda are important for its identification and diagnosis. They also reflect its metabolic capabilities and adaptation to different environmental conditions. In the next section, we will discuss how Edwardsiella tarda performs fermentation and enzymatic reactions.
Fermentation is a metabolic process that converts organic compounds into simpler molecules, such as acids, gases, or alcohols, in the absence of oxygen. Fermentation can be used to identify bacteria based on their ability to ferment different carbohydrates and produce characteristic end products.
Edwardsiella tarda is a bacterium that ferments few carbohydrates and shows biochemical inactivity, which is why it was named "tarda" (Latin for "slow"). E. tarda can ferment glucose and maltose, but not lactose, sucrose, or most other sugars . E. tarda also produces gas and acid from glucose fermentation.
The fermentation of E. tarda can be detected by using different media and indicators. For example, triple sugar iron agar (TSIA) is a medium that contains glucose, lactose, sucrose, iron, and phenol red as a pH indicator. E. tarda produces acid from glucose fermentation, which turns the medium yellow, and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) from iron reduction, which forms a black precipitate. However, since E. tarda does not ferment lactose or sucrose, the slant of the medium remains red . Another example is methyl red test, which is a test that measures the production of mixed acids from glucose fermentation. E. tarda produces enough acid to lower the pH below 4.4, which turns the methyl red indicator red .
The fermentation of E. tarda is important for its identification and differentiation from other bacteria in the Enterobacteriaceae family. It also reflects its adaptation to different environments and hosts, such as fish and humans. The ability to ferment glucose and maltose may provide E. tarda with an energy source in low-oxygen conditions, while the production of gas and acid may help it survive in acidic environments or evade host defenses.
Edwardsiella tarda can produce various enzymes that are involved in its metabolism and virulence. Some of these enzymes are:
- Catalase: This enzyme catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen. Edwardsiella tarda is catalase-positive, meaning that it can produce bubbles when exposed to hydrogen peroxide. This helps the bacterium to survive oxidative stress and evade the host immune system.
- Oxidase: This enzyme transfers electrons from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule, usually oxygen. Edwardsiella tarda is oxidase-negative, meaning that it does not produce a color change when exposed to an oxidase reagent. This indicates that the bacterium does not use oxygen as the final electron acceptor in its respiratory chain.
- Indole: This compound is produced by the breakdown of tryptophan, an amino acid, by the enzyme tryptophanase. Edwardsiella tarda is indole-positive, meaning that it can produce a red color when mixed with Kovac`s reagent. This helps to distinguish it from other Enterobacteriaceae that are indole-negative, such as Salmonella and Shigella.
- Methyl red: This test detects the production of mixed acids from glucose fermentation by the enzyme formic hydrogenlyase. Edwardsiella tarda is methyl red-positive, meaning that it can lower the pH of the medium below 4.4 and produce a red color when mixed with methyl red indicator. This indicates that the bacterium can produce large amounts of acidic end products from glucose fermentation.
- Voges-Proskauer: This test detects the production of 2,3-butanediol from glucose fermentation by the enzyme 2,3-butanediol dehydrogenase. Edwardsiella tarda is Voges-Proskauer-negative, meaning that it does not produce a red color when mixed with Barritt`s reagents A and B. This indicates that the bacterium does not produce significant amounts of 2,3-butanediol from glucose fermentation.
- Citrate: This test detects the utilization of citrate as a sole carbon source by the enzyme citrate lyase. Edwardsiella tarda is citrate-negative, meaning that it does not produce a blue color when grown on Simmons citrate agar. This indicates that the bacterium cannot use citrate as a sole carbon source and requires other organic compounds for growth.
- Urease: This enzyme hydrolyzes urea into ammonia and carbon dioxide. Edwardsiella tarda is urease-negative, meaning that it does not produce a pink color when grown on urea agar. This indicates that the bacterium cannot degrade urea and does not produce ammonia as a by-product.
These enzymatic reactions can help to identify and characterize Edwardsiella tarda in clinical and environmental samples. They can also provide insights into the metabolic and pathogenic capabilities of this bacterium.
In this article, we have discussed the biochemical test of Edwardsiella tarda, a facultative anaerobic bacterium that can cause serious infections in humans and animals. We have learned about its basic characteristics, such as its morphology, motility, and gram staining. We have also explored its properties, such as its fermentation of various carbohydrates and its enzymatic reactions in different substrates. We have seen that E. tarda can be differentiated from other enterobacteria by its ability to produce hydrogen sulfide, indole, and gas from glucose, and by its inability to produce urease, lysine decarboxylase, and ornithine decarboxylase. We have also learned that E. tarda is widely distributed in aquatic environments and can be transmitted by ingestion or skin penetration of contaminated water or seafood.
The biochemical test of E. tarda is important for its identification and diagnosis, as well as for understanding its pathogenicity and virulence factors. E. tarda can cause various diseases in humans and animals, such as gastroenteritis, septicemia, wound infections, and edwardsiellosis. E. tarda infections can be treated with antibiotics, but some strains may be resistant to certain drugs. Therefore, it is essential to perform a proper biochemical test of E. tarda to confirm its presence and susceptibility before initiating therapy.
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