Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 331–335 | Cite as

Isolation and Molecular Identification of Naegleria australiensis in Irrigation Water of Fuerteventura Island, Spain

  • María Reyes-Batlle
  • Aitor Rizo-Liendo
  • Rubén A. Viera-Santana
  • Sara Afonso-Morales
  • Atteneri López-Arencibia
  • Ines Sifaoui
  • Olfa Chiboub
  • Carlos J. Bethencourt-Estrella
  • Desirée San Nicolás-Hernández
  • Rubén L. Rodríguez-Expósito
  • Jonadab Zamora-Herrera
  • Basilio Valladares
  • José E. PiñeroEmail author
  • Francisco J. Díaz
  • Jacob Lorenzo-Morales



Saline groundwater desalination has recently emerged as an alternative source of irrigation water in arid and semiarid regions due to the gradual reduction in the quantity and quality of conventional water resources for agricultural use. In Fuerteventura Island (Spain), an extremely arid territory in the European Union, brackish water desalination is one of the few available water sources for agricultural production. Very little research has been conducted on the microbiological quality of this water mainly used for irrigation of vegetable crops. Free-living amoebae (FLA) are widely distributed protozoa in the environment and have been isolated from many environmental sources such as dust, soil and water. Among the pathogenic genera included in this group, Acanthamoeba spp., Naegleria fowleri and Balamuthia mandrillaris have been reported to be causative agents of lethal encephalitis, disseminated infections and keratitis. Particularly, Naegleria fowleri is a pathogenic FLA species which causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Materials and Methods

In the present study, the presence of pathogenic FLA strains on desalinated brackish water samples for irrigation has been evaluated during 7 months.


From the analysed samples, only one was positive for Naegleria australiensis. This is the first report of Naegleria spp. in desalinated brackish water for irrigation in Spain.


Free-living amoeba Naegleria australiensis Desalinated brackish water Arid land irrigation 



This work was funded by the proyect FIS PI18/01380 “Protozoosis emergentes por amebas de vida libre: Mejora de estrategias de diagnóstico, nuevas terapias y mecanismo de acción y traslación clínicas de los resultados” and Project AGL2013-46054-R. Spanish Ministry of Economic and Competitiveness. MRB was supported by the grants RICET [project no. RD16/0027/0001 of the programme of Redes Temáticas de Investigación Cooperativa, FIS], Spanish Ministry of Health, Madrid, Spain Spanish Ministry of Health, Madrid, Spain. ALA and IS were funded by the Agustín de Betancourt Programme. OC was supported by a grant from Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and the International Relationships Vicechancellor at the Universidad de La Laguna. JEPB was funded by Proyectos puente al Plan Estatal de I + D+I. Plan Propio 2018 Universidad de La Laguna.


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Copyright information

© Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Reyes-Batlle
    • 1
  • Aitor Rizo-Liendo
    • 1
  • Rubén A. Viera-Santana
    • 1
  • Sara Afonso-Morales
    • 1
  • Atteneri López-Arencibia
    • 1
  • Ines Sifaoui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Olfa Chiboub
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carlos J. Bethencourt-Estrella
    • 1
  • Desirée San Nicolás-Hernández
    • 1
  • Rubén L. Rodríguez-Expósito
    • 1
  • Jonadab Zamora-Herrera
    • 1
  • Basilio Valladares
    • 1
  • José E. Piñero
    • 1
    Email author
  • Francisco J. Díaz
    • 3
  • Jacob Lorenzo-Morales
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto Universitario de Enfermedades Tropicales y Salud Pública de Islas CanariasUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Laboratoire Matériaux-Molécules et Applications, La MarsaUniversity of CarthageCarthageTunisia
  3. 3.Department of Animal Biology, Soil Science and GeologyUniversity of La LagunaTenerifeSpain

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