Scanning and transmission electron microscopy were used to examine the adherence and in situ morphology of the microbial community colonizing the anal and vulvar pores of the subfamily Cyathostominae (Nematoda: Strongylidae) from the colon of Burchell's zebra (Equus burchelli antiquorum). Two different morphological types of asporogenous rod were prominent in the microbial community. One was a thin, septate, filamentous organism (0.4 to 0.5 micron by 2 to 3 microns) with blunt ends, which was more prominent at the site of attachment. The other was a larger (1.8 to 2.4 microns by 5 to 10 microns) multicellular rod with round ends in the form of a trichome. Spiral- and vibrio-shaped bacteria were also present in the thin sections. The septate filaments were shown to contain a cell spacer similar to those described in Methanospirillum hungatei. Attachment to the cuticle was by means of an amorphous electron-dense material with fibrillar appearance and not by specialized holdfast segments. Ten isolates were obtained from a habitat-simulating medium on which a homogenate from the posterior region was plated. Antibodies were raised to whole cells of five rod-shaped isolates in rabbits and fluorescein isothiocyanate labeled. Positive bright-yellow fluorescence was obtained with one of the clostridial isolates. The results are discussed with reference to other bacteria with similar morphology, the nature of this unique interrelationship between the microbial community and its parasitic host inside the equine hindgut, and the possibility of biological control of parasitic helminths.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology