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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Apples and other fruits may host drug-resistant, pathogenic yeasts on surfaces, study finds: Fungicides used to extend fruit shelf life may select for pathogenic yeast and promote transmission

When they are ready to be transported, apples and other fruits are often treated with a fungicide to prevent spoilage and increase shelf life. The practice preserves freshness, but it can be a double-edged sword: They can help select and promote the transmission of multi-drug-resistant pathogenic yeast. A study published this week mbo, An open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, offers new evidence for that idea.

Previous studies have examined the effect of fungicides on the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatusBut the new work focuses on drug-resistant strains, said Anuradha Choudhury, MD, PhD, a mycologist at the University of Delhi. candida auris, a pathogenic yeast that spreads quickly in hospitals and has been isolated from nature. Chowdhary said that fungicides used in agriculture may inadvertently select drug-resistant fungi.

She and her colleagues screened 84 fruit surfaces for pathogens, representing the fruits of 9 different types of trees. c. auriso and other yeast. The fruits were collected from regions in northern India in 2020 and 2021 and included 62 apples – 20 bought from orchards and 42 from a market in Delhi. Each fruit species hosted at least 1 type of yeast.

Scientists focused on apples. They found drug-resistant strains of c. auriso on a total of 8 apples (13%) and used whole genome sequencing to identify 16 distinct colonies. Apples included 5 ‘Red Delicious’ and 3 ‘Royal Gala’ varieties. All 8 of those apples were stored prior to purchase, and none of the freshly picked apples were hosted c. auriso,

The group found other Candida strains on the packed apples, said microbiologist Jianping Xu, PhD, at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Xu co-led the study with Chowdhary.

c. auriso Resistant to many drugs. It was first identified in Japan in 2009, and has since emerged or spread to all inhabited continents. Researchers are investigating how the pathogen is generated and spread. “We still don’t really understand the forces that led to the simultaneous emergence of many different genetic groups. c. aurisoXu said. A study led by Choudhury and Xu published last year in MBO was the first to separate c. auriso From a natural environment, to the marshy and sandy beaches of a natural coastal ecosystem in the Andaman Islands, India.

The new findings suggest that apples may be a selective force for the pathogen, and help it spread. Although the study focused on fruits collected from northern India, Xu reported that the spread of c. auriso Not an Indian-specific phenomenon. It’s a Global Threat: In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Identified c. auriso As 1 in 5 pathogens that pose an immediate threat to public health worldwide. To know how to respond to the pathogen’s threat to humans, researchers need to know how it travels through other natural systems.

“When we look at human pathogens, we see what’s urgent for us,” Xu said. “But we have to look at it more broadly. Everything is connected, the whole system. The fruit is just 1 example.”

Fungi are an important part of the environment, and Chowdhury said the new study shows how the environment, animals and humans are all connected — a central tenet in the concept of health. “A health concept warrants our continued efforts and attention to contain the transmission of infection,” she said.

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material provided by American Society for Microbiology, Note: Content can be edited for style and length.

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