ResearchPad - Analytical Chemistry Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) for the detection of lethal amatoxins from mushrooms]]>

The mushroom poison that causes the most deaths is the class of toxins known as amatoxins. Current methods to sensitively and selectively detect these toxins are limited by the need for expensive equipment, or they lack accuracy due to cross-reactivity with other chemicals found in mushrooms. In this work, we report the development of a competition-based lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) for the rapid, portable, selective, and sensitive detection of amatoxins. Our assay clearly indicates the presence of 10 ng/mL of α-AMA or γ-AMA and the method including extraction and detection can be completed in approximately 10 minutes. The test can be easily read by eye and has a presumed shelf-life of at least 1 year. From testing 110 wild mushrooms, the LFIA identified 6 out of 6 species that were known to contain amatoxins. Other poisonous mushrooms known not to contain amatoxins tested negative by LFIA. This LFIA can be used to quickly identify amatoxin-containing mushrooms.

<![CDATA[The effect of NaOH pretreatment on coal structure and biomethane production]]>

Biogenic CBM is an important component of detected CBM, which is formed by coal biodegradation and can be regenerated by anaerobic microorganisms. One of the rate-limiting factors for microbial degradation is the bioavailability of coal molecules, especially for anthracite which is more condense and has higher aromaticity compared with low-rank coal. In this paper, NaOH solution with different concentrations and treating time was employed to pretreat anthracite from Qinshui Basin to alter the coal structure and facilitate the biodegradation. The results showed that the optimal pretreatment conditions were 1.5 M NaOH treating for 12 h, under which the biomethane production was increased by 17.65% compared with untreated coal. The results of FTIR and XRD showed that NaOH pretreatment mainly reduced the multi-substituted aromatics, increased the C-O in alcohols and aromatic ethers and the branching degree of aliphatic chain, and decreased the aromatic ring structure, resulting in the improvement of coal bioavailability and enhancement of biomethane yield. And some organics with potential to generate methane were released to filtrate as revealed by GC-MS. Our results suggested that NaOH was an effective solution for pretreating coal to enhance biogenic methane production, and anthracite after treating with NaOH could be the better substrate for methanogenesis.

<![CDATA[Proteomic analysis of protein composition of rat hippocampus exposed to morphine for 10 days; comparison with animals after 20 days of morphine withdrawal]]>

Opioid addiction is recognized as a chronic relapsing brain disease resulting from repeated exposure to opioid drugs. Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the ability of organism to return back to the physiological norm after cessation of drug supply are not fully understood. The aim of this work was to extend our previous studies of morphine-induced alteration of rat forebrain cortex protein composition to the hippocampus. Rats were exposed to morphine for 10 days and sacrificed 24 h (groups +M10 and −M10) or 20 days after the last dose of morphine (groups +M10/−M20 and −M10/−M20). The six altered proteins (≥2-fold) were identified in group (+M10) when compared with group (−M10) by two-dimensional fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE). The number of differentially expressed proteins was increased to thirteen after 20 days of the drug withdrawal. Noticeably, the altered level of α-synuclein, β-synuclein, α-enolase and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) was also determined in both (±M10) and (±M10/−M20) samples of hippocampus. Immunoblot analysis of 2D gels by specific antibodies oriented against α/β-synucleins and GAPDH confirmed the data obtained by 2D-DIGE analysis. Label-free quantification identified nineteen differentially expressed proteins in group (+M10) when compared with group (−M10). After 20 days of morphine withdrawal (±M10/−M20), the number of altered proteins was increased to twenty. We conclude that the morphine-induced alteration of protein composition in rat hippocampus after cessation of drug supply proceeds in a different manner when compared with the forebrain cortex. In forebrain cortex, the total number of altered proteins was decreased after 20 days without morphine, whilst in hippocampus, it was increased.

<![CDATA[Extending the information content of the MALDI analysis of biological fluids via multi-million shot analysis]]>


Reliable measurements of the protein content of biological fluids like serum or plasma can provide valuable input for the development of personalized medicine tests. Standard MALDI analysis typically only shows high abundance proteins, which limits its utility for test development. It also exhibits reproducibility issues with respect to quantitative measurements. In this paper we show how the sensitivity of MALDI profiling of intact proteins in unfractionated human serum can be substantially increased by exposing a sample to many more laser shots than are commonly used. Analytical reproducibility is also improved.


To assess what is theoretically achievable we utilized spectra from the same samples obtained over many years and combined them to generate MALDI spectral averages of up to 100,000,000 shots for a single sample, and up to 8,000,000 shots for a set of 40 different serum samples. Spectral attributes, such as number of peaks and spectral noise of such averaged spectra were investigated together with analytical reproducibility as a function of the number of shots. We confirmed that results were similar on MALDI instruments from different manufacturers.


We observed an expected decrease of noise, roughly proportional to the square root of the number of shots, over the whole investigated range of the number of shots (5 orders of magnitude), resulting in an increase in the number of reliably detected peaks. The reproducibility of the amplitude of these peaks, measured by CV and concordance analysis also improves with very similar dependence on shot number, reaching median CVs below 2% for shot numbers > 4 million. Measures of analytical information content and association with biological processes increase with increasing number of shots.


We demonstrate that substantially increasing the number of laser shots in a MALDI-TOF analysis leads to more informative and reliable data on the protein content of unfractionated serum. This approach has already been used in the development of clinical tests in oncology.

<![CDATA[Arterial carboxyhaemoglobin levels in children admitted to PICU: A retrospective observational study]]>

While carbon monoxide (CO) is considered toxic, low levels of endogenously produced CO are protective against cellular injury induced by oxidative stress. Carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) levels have been associated with outcomes in critically ill adults. We aimed to describe the distribution of carboxyhaemoglobin in critically ill children and the relationship of these levels with clinical outcomes. This retrospective observational study was conducted at a large tertiary paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). We included all children admitted to the PICU over a two-year period who underwent arterial blood gas analysis. We measured the following: (i) Population and age-related differences in COHb distribution; (ii) Change in COHb over the first week of admission using a multi-level linear regression analysis; (iii) Uni- and multivariable relationships between COHb and length of ventilation and PICU survival. Arterial COHb levels were available for 559/2029 admissions. The median COHb level was 1.20% (IQR 1.00–1.60%). Younger children had significantly higher COHb levels (p-value <2 x 10−16). Maximum Carboxyhaemoglobin was associated with survival 1.67 (95% CI: 1.01–2.57; p-value = 0.02) and length of ventilation (OR 5.20, 95% CI: 3.07–7.30; p-value = 1.8 x 10−6) following multi-variable analysis. First measured and minimum COHb values were weakly associated with length of ventilation, but not survival. In conclusion, children have increased COHb levels in critical illness, which are greater in younger children. Higher COHb levels are associated with longer length of ventilation and death in PICU. This may reflect increased oxidative stress in these children.

<![CDATA[An antibody-free sample pretreatment method for osteopontin combined with MALDI-TOF MS/MS analysis]]>

Osteopontin is an osteoblast-secreted protein with an aspartic acid-rich, highly phosphorylated, and glycosylated structure. Osteopontin can easily bind to integrins, tumor cells, extracellular matrix and calcium, and is related to bone diseases, various cancers, inflammation etc. Here, DEAE-Cibacron blue 3GA was used to extract recombinant osteopontin from human plasma, and to deplete abundant plasma proteins with an antibody-free method. Using selected buffer systems, osteopontin and human serum albumin could be bound to DEAE-Cibacron blue 3GA, while immunoglobulin G was excluded. The bound osteopontin could then be separated from albumin by using different sequential elution buffers. By this method, 1 μg/mL recombinant osteopontin could be separated from the major part of the most abundant proteins in human plasma. After trypsin digestion, the extracted osteopontin could be successfully detected and identified by MALDI-TOF MS/MS using the m/z 1854.898 peptide and its fragments.

<![CDATA[Geological significance of new zircon U–Pb geochronology and geochemistry: Niuxinshan intrusive complex, northern North China Craton]]>

The Huajian gold deposit is one of the largest hydrothermal intrusion-related gold deposits in eastern Hebei Province, located in the northern margin of the North China Craton (NCC). The mineralization in this district displays a close spatial association with the shoshonitic Niuxinshan intrusive complex (NIC), which contributes to the characterization of the metallogeny associated with convergent margin magmatism. In the current study, new geochronological and geochemical data are combined with previously published isotopic data, obtained from the granitic rocks in the NIC, to constrain the timing of the district’s tectonic setting transformation and determine its bearing on regional metallogeny. The new geochronological data constrain the timing of the tectonic transformation between 155 and 185 Ma. The NIC’s granitic rocks can be geochemically subdivided into two groups. One group’s geochemical signature exhibits steep rare earth element (REE) patterns with negligible Eu anomalies, lower Yb, higher Sr, and negative Nb–Ta–Ti (NTT) anomalies, which indicate a volcanic-arc environment with a thickened crust in a convergent setting. The other group exhibits flat REE patterns with obvious negative Eu anomalies, higher Yb, lower Sr, and weak NTT anomalies, which indicate an intra-plate extensional environment with a thinning crust. Combining geochronologic and isotopic data, the mineralization is Late Jurassic (~155 Ma). This is interpreted to be genetically related to the crystallization of the shallow crustal-sourced portions of this complex. Additionally, a tectonic model is presented that provides a plausible explanation for the abundant polymetallic mineralization that occurs in the northern margin of the NCC after 155 Ma.

<![CDATA[Quantitation of 5-methyltetraydrofolic acid in plasma for determination of folate status and clinical studies by stable isotope dilution assays]]>

Folates play a key role in the prevention of neural tube defects in newborns. Thus, it is important to reliably determine the bioavailability of folates from various foods. Accurate analytical methods are essential for quantifying blood-folates, especially in human studies. Here, we present the development and validation of a sensitive method using stable isotope dilution liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry for determining various folates in plasma. Moreover, this study reports the applicability of the developed method to a human pilot study using strawberries as a test food. Validation of the assay revealed the precision, sensitivity, and accuracy of the method in determining the predominant 5-methyltetrahydrofolate in plasma. This method was also applicable for the screening of individual folate status using finger prick blood and for monitoring the post-absorptive plasma-concentration curve. Moreover, the human study revealed a high recovery of strawberry folates with a calculated relative bioavailability of 96.2%. Thus, the developed method enables prospective bioavailability studies. This work also confirmed, via human studies, that strawberries are a rich and natural source of folates that are available for human metabolism.

<![CDATA[Identification of French Guiana sand flies using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry with a new mass spectra library]]>

Phlebotomine sand flies are insects that are highly relevant in medicine, particularly as the sole proven vectors of leishmaniasis. Accurate identification of sand fly species is an essential prerequisite for eco-epidemiological studies aiming to better understand the disease. Traditional morphological identification is painstaking and time-consuming, and molecular methods for extensive screening remain expensive. Recent studies have shown that matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a promising tool for rapid and cost-effective identification of arthropod vectors, including sand flies. The aim of this study was to validate the use of MALDI-TOF MS for the identification of Northern Amazonian sand flies. We constituted a MALDI-TOF MS reference database comprising 29 species of sand flies that were field-collected in French Guiana, which are expected to cover many of the more common species of the Northern Amazonian region, including known vectors of leishmaniasis. Carrying out a blind test, all the sand flies tested (n = 157) with a log (score) threshold greater than 1.7 were correctly identified at the species level. We confirmed that MALDI-TOF MS protein profiling is a useful tool for the study of sand flies, including neotropical species, known for their great diversity. An application that includes the spectra generated here will be available to the scientific community in the near future via an online platform.

<![CDATA[Utility of MALDI-TOF MS as a new tool for Streptococcus pneumoniae serotyping]]>

Nowadays, more than 95 different Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes are known, being less than one third responsible for the majority of severe pneumococcal infections. After the introduction of conjugate vaccines, a change in the epidemiology of the serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease has been observed making the surveillance of circulating serotypes especially relevant. Some recent studies have used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) technology to identify the most frequent pneumococcal serotypes that cause invasive disease. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the efficacy of previously described discriminatory peaks determined by MALDI-TOF MS for the identification of serotypes 6B, 19F, 19A and 35B using reference and clinical isolates and to try to identify other discriminatory peaks for serotypes 11A, 19F and 19A using transformed pneumococcal strains. Most of the proposed peaks defined in the literature for the identification of serotypes 6B, 19F, 19A, 35B were not found in the spectra of the 10 reference isolates nor in those of the 60 clinical isolates tested corresponding to these four serotypes. The analysis and comparison of the mass spectra of genetically modified pneumococci (transformed strains) did not allow the establishment of new discriminatory peaks for serotypes 11A, 19F, and 19A. MALDI-TOF MS in the usual range of 2,000 to 20,000 m/z did not prove to be a valid technique for direct S. pneumoniae serotyping.

<![CDATA[Accelerated bacterial detection in blood culture by enhanced acoustic flow cytometry (AFC) following peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization (PNA-FISH)]]>

Bacteraemia is a risk factor for subsequent clinical deterioration and death. Current reliance on culture-based methods for detection of bacteraemia delays identification and assessment of this risk until after the optimal period for positively impacting treatment decisions has passed. Therefore, a method for rapid detection and identification of bacterial infection in the peripheral bloodstream in acutely ill patients is crucial for improved patient survival through earlier targeted antibiotic treatment. The turnaround time for current clinical laboratory methods ranges from 12 to 48 hours, emphasizing the need for a faster diagnostic test. Here we describe a novel assay for accelerated generic detection of bacteria in blood culture (BC) using peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization enhanced acoustic flow cytometry (PNA-FISH-AFC). For assay development, we used simulated blood cultures (BCs) spiked with one of three bacterial species at a low starting concentration of 10 CFU/mL: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Under current clinical settings, it takes a minimum of 12 hours incubation to reach positivity on the BacTEC system, corresponding to a bacterial concentration of 107−109 CFU/mL optimal for further analyses. In contrast, our PNA-FISH-AFC assay detected 103–104 CFU/mL bacteria in BC following a much shorter culture incubation of 5 to 10 hours. Using either PCR-based FilmArray assay or MALDI-TOF for bacterial detection, it took 7–10 and 12–24 hours of incubation, respectively, to reach the positive result. These findings indicate a potential time advantage of PNA-FISH-AFC assay for rapid bacterial detection in BC with significantly improved turnaround time over currently used laboratory techniques.

<![CDATA[Validation of a simple sample preparation method for multielement analysis of bovine serum]]>

Here we propose a single acid digestion (SAD) sample preparation method for ICP-MS analysis of animal serum samples to determine trace element contents. The method was evaluated in comparison with a commonly used procedure involving dilution of samples in an alkaline solution (AKD). In the SAD procedure, aliquots (1 mL) of bovine serum samples were treated at low temperature with a mixture of concentrated nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide. Trace elements (As, B, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sr, U, and Zn) were directly determined by ICP-MS analysis of diluted solutions of samples. Both methods were sufficiently sensitive to enable quantification of most trace elements, with the exception of the AKD method for Cd, Hg and Pb. The quality of the data was verified by using certified reference material. Good results were obtained for the SAD procedure and all elements, but recoveries were unacceptable with the AKD procedure for Se (recovery: 57%), Cd (154%) and Fe (139%). Strong associations (R2>0.90, P = 0.000) between the data obtained by both methods were demonstrated for the elements considered. The proposed SAD sample preparation method produced satisfactory results for determining most toxic and essential trace elements targeted in monitoring studies.

<![CDATA[Discovery of potential ovicidal natural products using metabolomics]]>

Plant extracts are a potential source of new compounds for nematode control and may be an excellent alternative for the control gastrointestinal nematodes that are resistant to conventional anthelmintics. However, research involving natural products is a complex process. The main challenge is the identification of bioactive compounds. Online analytical techniques with universal detectors, such as high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS), together with metabolomics could enable the fast, accurate evaluation of a massive amount of data, constituting a viable option for the identification of active compounds in plant extracts. This study focused on the evaluation of the ovicidal activity of ethanol extracts from 17 plants collected from the Pantanal wetland in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, against eggs of Haemonchus placei using the egg hatchability test. The ethanol extracts were obtained using accelerated solvent extraction. The data on ovicidal activity, mass spectrometry and metabolomics were evaluated using HPLC-DAD-MS, partial least squares regression analysis (PLS-DA) and a correlation map (univariate correlation analyses) to detect compounds that have a positive correlation with biological activity. Among the ten metabolites with the best correlation coefficients, six were phenylpropanoids, two were triterpene saponins, one was a brevipolide, and one was a flavonoid. Combinations of metabolites with high ovicidal action were also identified, such as phenylpropanoids combined with the triterpene saponins and the flavonoid, flavonoids combined with iridoid and phenylpropanoids, and saponins combined with phenylpropanoid. The positive correlation between classes of compounds in plants belonging to different genera and biological activity (as previously identified in the literature) reinforces the robustness of the statistical data and demonstrates the efficacy of this method for the selection of bioactive compounds without the need for isolation and reevaluation. The proposed method also enables the determination of synergism among the classes, which would be impracticable using traditional methods. The present investigation demonstrates that the metabolomic technique was efficient at detecting secondary metabolites with ovicidal activity against H. placei. Thus, the use of metabolomics can be a tool to accelerate and simplify bioprospecting research with plant extracts in veterinary parasitology.

<![CDATA[Drosophila melanogaster cloak their eggs with pheromones, which prevents cannibalism]]>

Oviparous animals across many taxa have evolved diverse strategies that deter egg predation, providing valuable tests of how natural selection mitigates direct fitness loss. Communal egg laying in nonsocial species minimizes egg predation. However, in cannibalistic species, this very behavior facilitates egg predation by conspecifics (cannibalism). Similarly, toxins and aposematic signaling that deter egg predators are often inefficient against resistant conspecifics. Egg cannibalism can be adaptive, wherein cannibals may benefit through reduced competition and added nutrition, but since it reduces Darwinian fitness, the evolution of anticannibalistic strategies is rife. However, such strategies are likely to be nontoxic because deploying toxins against related individuals would reduce inclusive fitness. Here, we report how D. melanogaster use specific hydrocarbons to chemically mask their eggs from cannibal larvae. Using an integrative approach combining behavioral, sensory, and mass spectrometry methods, we demonstrate that maternally provisioned pheromone 7,11-heptacosadiene (7,11-HD) in the eggshell’s wax layer deters egg cannibalism. Furthermore, we show that 7,11-HD is nontoxic, can mask underlying substrates (for example, yeast) when coated upon them, and its detection requires pickpocket 23 (ppk23) gene function. Finally, using light and electron microscopy, we demonstrate how maternal pheromones leak-proof the egg, consequently concealing it from conspecific larvae. Our data suggest that semiochemicals possibly subserve in deceptive functions across taxa, especially when predators rely on chemical cues to forage, and stimulate further research on deceptive strategies mediated through nonvisual sensory modules. This study thus highlights how integrative approaches can illuminate our understanding on the adaptive significance of deceptive defenses and the mechanisms through which they operate.

<![CDATA[Whole animal matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry of ticks – Are spectra of Ixodes ricinus nymphs influenced by environmental, spatial, and temporal factors?]]>

In the recent years matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) has become a useful tool to characterize arthropod species and their different stages of development. It was reported for sand flies and mosquitoes at immature stages and also assumed for ticks that geographic location can have a subtle influence on MALDI-TOF mass spectra which allows the discrimination of animals with specific local variations of the MALDI-TOF MS phenotype. It is so far uncertain, however, if these mass-spectrometric differences are based on genetic variation or on spectral features which depend on environmental or temporal features. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of the geographic location, environmental factors and the season of the year on the MALDI-TOF mass spectra of Ixodes (I.) ricinus nymphs and if spectral variation would allow to draw conclusions with respect to the tick’s provenience or conditions that influence the tick life cycle. Application of multivariate statistical models on spectra of ticks collected in different seasons and different habitats and locations within Germany showed that the impact of the location seemed to be small while season and habitat seemed to have stronger impact on the MALDI-TOF mass spectra. Possibilities and limitations of MALDI-TOF mass spectra to draw conclusions on the tick life cycle are discussed.

<![CDATA[Novel broad spectrum virucidal molecules against enveloped viruses]]>

Viral infections are an important cause of death worldwide. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of antiviral drugs or vaccines for a large number of viruses, and this represents a remarkable challenge particularly for emerging and re-emerging viruses. For this reason, the identification of broad spectrum antiviral compounds provides a valuable opportunity for developing efficient antiviral therapies. Here we report on a class of rhodanine and thiobarbituric derivatives displaying a broad spectrum antiviral activity against seven different enveloped viruses including an HSV-2 acyclovir resistant strain with favorable selectivity indexes. Due to their selective action on enveloped viruses and to their lipid oxidation ability, we hypothesize a mechanism on the viral envelope that affects the fluidity of the lipid bilayer, thus compromising the efficiency of virus-cell fusion and preventing viral entry.

<![CDATA[Metabolic effects of an aspartate aminotransferase-inhibitor on two T-cell lines]]>

An emerging method to help elucidate the mode of action of experimental drugs is to use untargeted metabolomics of cell-systems. The interpretations of such screens are however complex and more examples with inhibitors of known targets are needed. Here two T-cell lines were treated with an inhibitor of aspartate aminotransferase and analyzed with untargeted GC-MS. The interpretation of the data was enhanced by the use of two different cell-lines and supports aspartate aminotransferase as a target. In addition, the data suggest an unexpected off-target effect on glutamate decarboxylase. The results exemplify the potency of metabolomics to provide insight into both mode of action and off-target effects of drug candidates.

<![CDATA[Supplementation of in vitro culture medium with FSH to grow follicles and mature oocytes can be replaced by extracts of Justicia insularis]]>

The present study evaluated the effect of supplementing in vitro culture medium with J. insularis compared to FSH on isolated secondary follicles and in vitro maturation of oocytes from those follicles. Secondary follicles were isolated from sheep ovaries and individually cultured for 18 days in α-MEM+ (Control), α-MEM+ supplemented with 100 ng/mL recombinant bovine follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or with 0.3, 1.25, or 2.5 mg/mL of J. insularis extract (JI0.3, JI1.25, and JI2.5, respectively). Culture medium collected every 2 days was used to measure ROS levels. At the end of the culture period, cumulus oocytes complex (COCs) were collected and matured in vitro. Follicular walls were used for mRNA quantitation. JI0.3 led to a higher (P < 0.05) percentages of intact follicles than other groups after 18 days of culture. While follicular diameter remained unchanged from Day 6 onwards with JI0.3 and FSH, percentages of antral cavity formation were higher (P < 0.05) with JI0.3 at Day 6 than in all other treatments. No differences were observed between controls and treatment groups regarding ROS levels and mRNA expression of genes. Viability of resulting oocytes was higher (P < 0.05) in JI0.3 compared to FSH. Interestingly, in control experiment, supplementation of maturation medium with JI0.3 led to higher (P < 0.05) percentages of metaphase II compared to controls. Although more validations will be needed, it seems that this natural extract could be used as a cheap and easily available alternative to commercial FSH.

<![CDATA[Importance of Propionibacterium acnes hemolytic activity in human intervertebral discs: A microbiological study]]>

Most patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) exhibit degenerative disc disease. Disc specimens obtained during initial therapeutic discectomies are often infected/colonized with Propionibacterium acnes, a Gram-positive commensal of the human skin. Although pain associated with infection is typically ascribed to the body’s inflammatory response, the Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus was recently observed to directly activate nociceptors by secreting pore-forming α-hemolysins that disrupt neuronal cell membranes. The hemolytic activity of P. acnes in cultured disc specimens obtained during routine therapeutic discectomies was assessed through incubation on sheep-blood agar. The β-hemolysis pattern displayed by P. acnes on sheep-blood agar was variable and phylogroup-dependent. Their molecular phylogroups were correlated with their hemolytic patterns. Our findings raise the possibility that pore-forming proteins contribute to the pathogenesis and/or symptomology of chronic P. acnes disc infections and CLBP, at least in a subset of cases.

<![CDATA[A global bibliometric analysis of Plesiomonas-related research (1990 – 2017)]]>

Plesiomonas shigelloides is an emerging pathogen with damaging effects on human health such as gastroenteritis and extraintestinal infections. Here, we carried out a bibliometric survey that aimed to examine publication trends in Plesiomonas-related research by time and place, international collaborative works, identify gaps and suggest directions for future research. The search term “Plesiomonas shigelloides” was used to retrieve articles published between 1990 and 2017 from the Web of Science database. Only primary research articles were included in the analysis. A total of 155 articles were published within the survey period, with an average of 5.54±2.66 articles per year and an annual growth rate of −0.8%. Research output peaked in 2000 and 2006 (each accounting for 7.7% of the total). The United States ranked first in terms of numbers of articles (n = 29, 18.1%) and total citations (n = 451). Cameroon, Canada, Cuba, Switzerland and Turkey co-shared the 10th position each with 2 articles (1.3%). Research collaboration was low (collaboration index = 3. 32). In addition to Plesiomonas shigelloides (n = 82, 52.9%), the top Authors Keywords and research focus included lipopolysaccharide and nuclear magnetic resonance (n = 13, 8.4%). Diarrhea (n = 43, 27.7%), Aeromonas species (n = 41, 26.5%) and infections (n = 31, 20.0%) were also highly represented in Keywords-Plus. Authors’ collaborations and coupling networks formed two mega-clusters which nodes were shared solely by authors from high-income countries. The common conceptual framework in retrieved articles determined by K-means clustering revealed three clusters with sizes of 7, 16, and 29, representing research responses focused on extraintestinal and gastroenteritis, P. shigelloides lipopolysaccharide structure, and co-infections, respectively. Our bibliometric analysis revealed a global diminishing research in Plesiomonas; greater research outcomes from high-income countries compared to others and low collaboration with developing countries.