Axenic culture of reptilian Blastocystis isolates in monophasic medium and speciation by karyotypic typing

Parasitol Res. 1996;82(2):165-9. doi: 10.1007/s004360050088.


The growth of axenic reptilian isolates of Blastocystis in Iscove's modified Dulbecco's medium (IMDM) was studied and the morphology of the parasite was examined by phase-contrast microscopy. The chromosomal patterns of these reptilian isolates of Blastocystis were examined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and compared with those of B. hominis and B. lapemi, a sea snake Blastocystis. IMDM with 10% horse serum supported excellent growth of the reptilian Blastocystis isolates. The parasites from all the isolates were predominantly vacuolar, but multivacuolar and amoeboid forms were also seen. Amoeboid forms with rather elongate pseudopodia were also observed. There were some differences in size, morphology, and growth characteristics in the different reptilian isolates. The karyotypic patterns of the Blastocystis isolates from tortoise, iguana, and python were distinctly different from one another and from those obtained with B. hominis and B. lapemi. On the basis of the above-mentioned differences in chromosomal patterns, the tortoise, iguana, and python isolates are described as new species, viz., B. geocheloni sp. nov. from Geochelone carbonaria (red-footed tortoise), B. cycluri sp. nov. from Cyclura cornuta (rhino iguana), and B. pythoni sp. nov. from Python reticulatus (reticulated python).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocystis / classification*
  • Blastocystis / genetics*
  • Blastocystis / growth & development
  • Blastocystis / ultrastructure
  • Blastocystis hominis / genetics
  • Boidae / parasitology*
  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Horses
  • Iguanas / parasitology*
  • Karyotyping
  • Microscopy, Phase-Contrast
  • Reptiles / parasitology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Culture Media
  • DNA, Protozoan