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Revista argentina de microbiología

versión impresa ISSN 0325-7541versión On-line ISSN 1851-7617


TORTONE, Claudia A et al. Species diversity of non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolated from aquatic environments of General Pico city, Province of La Pampa (Argentina). Rev. argent. microbiol. [online]. 2019, vol.51, n.3, pp.259-267. ISSN 0325-7541.

Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are studied not only for their importance as emerging opportunistic pathogens but also for their applications in biotechnology and bioremediation. Our aim was to determine the occurrence and diversity of mycobacteria in different aquatic habitats of General Pico city, Province of La Pampa. The percentage of samples with positive cultures for mycobacteria were the following: 37.5% recovered from the water supply distribution system; 32.6% from the aquifer that supplies water to the distribution system; 36.8% from rain water; 53.1% from the two wetlands in the area of influence; 80% from indoor swimming pools; and 33.3% from water fountains in downtown public squares. Of the 90 NTM isolates, 8.9% could not be identified at the species level with any of the used methods, phenotypic tests and molecular methods. Mycobacterium fortuitum and Mycobacterium gordonae were the most frequently isolated species. Some of the identified species such as, M. fortuitum, M. gordonae, M. intracellulare, M. vaccae, M. lentiflavum and M. nonchromogenicum, have been reported in cases of mycobacteriosis in Argentina. Mycobacteria with values higher than 0.8mg/ml of residual active chlorine were not recovered from the drinking water supply network, whereas in the swimming pools the presence of up to 1.5 mg/l was not a constraint. Based on our results, the presence of mycobacteria in aquatic environments is close to 35% and their occurrence and diversity is affected both by contact with man and his activities as well as by the existence of animal life.

Palabras clave : Non-tuberculous mycobacteria; Biodiversity; Aquatic environments.

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