Submitted to: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 21, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Sarcocystis falcatula is a single celled parasite. It causes fatal infections in passerine birds, especially in zoos. Until now, S. falcatula infections were reported only from the United States. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and a University in La Plata, Argentina provide conclusive evidence that S. falcatula is found in Argentina and that the Argentinian opossum, Didelphis albiventris, is another definitive host for it. These findings will be of interest to parasitologists, zoo managers, veterinarians and veterinary diagnosticians.
Two isolates of Sarcocystis falcatula were obtained from the lungs of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) fed sporocysts from two naturally-infected South American opossums (Didelphis albiventris). The two isolates were designated SF-1A and SF-2A. Both isolates induced fatal infections in budgerigars. Both isolates underwent schizogony in African green monkey kidney cells. The structure of schizonts in the lungs of budgerigars was more variable than that observed in cell culture. The two isolates were identified as S. falcatula by the two species-specific Hinf 1 restriction fragments dervied from digestion of a PCR amplification using primers JNB33/JNB54. Thus, South American opossum, D. albiventris, is a definitive host for S. falcatula.