Predation of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium by the rumen protozoon Entodinium caudatum studied in vitro by fluorescence emission
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Predation of bacteria by protozoa has important implications on rumen metabolism and bacterial populations. Protozoa can also restrict the passage of pathogenic bacteria to the host's lower gastrointestinal tract. This work aimed to evaluate the predation by Entodinium caudatum (EC) and the intraprotozoal
survival of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. EC cells from a monofaunated sheep were incubated for up to 105 min with a S. enterica strain producing a green fluorescent protein. Rumen fluid from a defaunated sheep (DEF) was used as a control. Fluorescence, as an index of predation, measured in the residual (protozoal) fraction was higher in EC than in DEF. 105 min after the beginning of the incubation it was higher than 30 min after. Intracellular survival of Salmonella within EC was assessed by means of a selective medium. Amounts of Salmonella in the residual fraction were higher in EC than in DEF only after 30 min. After 105 min, each protozoa engulfed 100 Salmonella cell per min. Intraprotozoal survival of ingested Salmonella was 0.0017. Predation of S. enterica by E. caudatum occurred and increased in proportion to time, but bacterial viability inside the protozoa was lower at 105 min. This study demonstrates that fluorescence emission combined with bacterial and protozoal cultures could be a reliable method for quantifying bacterial predation and viability in vitro.