Methods for parasitic protozoans detection in the environmental samples

Parasite. 2009 Sep;16(3):183-90. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2009163183.


The environmental route of transmission of many parasitic protozoa and their potential for producing large numbers of transmissive stages constitute persistent threats to public and veterinary health. Conventional and new immunological and molecular methods enable to assess the occurrence, prevalence, levels and sources of waterborne protozoa. Concentration, purification, and detection are the three key steps in all methods that have been approved for routine monitoring of waterborne cysts and oocysts. These steps have been optimized to such an extent that low levels of naturally occurring (oo)cysts of protozoan can be efficiently recovered from water. Ten years have passed since the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) introduced the 1622 and 1623 methods and used them to concentrate and detect the oocysts of Cryptosporidium and cysts of Giardia in water samples. Nevertheless, the methods still need studies and improvements. Pre-PCR processing procedures have been developed and they are still improved to remove or reduce the effects of PCR inhibitors. The progress in molecular methods allows to more precise distinction of species or simultaneous detection of several parasites, however, they are still not routinely used and need standardization. Standardized methods are required to maximize public health surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cryptosporidium / genetics
  • Cryptosporidium / isolation & purification
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Environment
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Eukaryota / isolation & purification*
  • Giardia / genetics
  • Giardia / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • Parasites / genetics
  • Parasites / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Water / parasitology


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • Water