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Volume 27, Number 11—November 2021
Etymologia

Etymologia: Prototheca

Rüdiger D. OllhoffComments to Author , Fábio P. Sellera, and Fabio C. Pogliani
Author affiliations: Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil (R.D. Ollhoff); Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (F.P. Sellera, F.C. Pogliani); Universidade Metropolitana de Santos, Santos, Brazil (F.P. Sellera)

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Prototheca [pro″to-the′kə]

Figure 1

Periodic acid‒Schiff‒stained tissue sample from a case-patient who had protothecosis, showing several sphere-like cells of Prototheca spp. Source: Dr. Jerrold Kaplan, Centers for Disease Control, 1971.

Figure 1. Periodic acid‒Schiff‒stained tissue sample from a case-patient who had protothecosis, showing several sphere-like cells of Prototheca spp. Source: Dr. Jerrold Kaplan, Centers for Disease Control, 1971.

Figure 2

Wilhelm Krüger (1857‒1947). Source: Institute for Sugar Beet Research (http://www.ifz-goettingen.de).

Figure 2. Wilhelm Krüger (1857‒1947). Source: Institute for Sugar Beet Research (http://www.ifz-goettingen.de).

From the Greek proto- (first) + thēkē (sheath), Prototheca is a genus of variably shaped spherical cells of achloric algae in the family Chlorellaceae (Figure 1). Wilhelm Krüger, a German expert in plant physiology and sugar production, reported Prototheca microorganisms in 1894, shortly after spending 7 years in Java studying sugarcane (Figure 2). He isolated Prototheca species from the sap of 3 tree species. Krüger named these organisms as P. moriformis and P. zopfii, the second name as a tribute to Friedrich Wilhelm Zopf, a renowned botanist, mycologist, and lichenologist.

Protothecosis affects humans and wild and domestic animals, primarily causing mastitis in cows. Human protothecosis was reported in 1964 from a skin lesion in a farmer from Sierra Leone. There are increasing reports of infections in immunocompromised patients. Debates regarding Prototheca taxonomy persist.

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References

  1. Davies  RR, Spencer  H, Wakelin  PO. A case of human protothecosis. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1964;58:44851. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.
  3. Kano  R. Emergence of fungal-like organisms: Prototheca. Mycopathologia. 2020;185:74754.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Krüger  W. Brief characteristics of some lower organisms in the sap flow of deciduous trees [in German]. Hedwigia. 1894;33:24166.
  5. Todd  JR, Matsumoto  T, Ueno  R, Murugaiyan  J, Britten  A, King  JW, et al. Medical phycology 2017. Med Mycol. 2018;56(suppl_1):S188204. DOIPubMedGoogle Scholar

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2711.211554

Original Publication Date: September 28, 2021

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Table of Contents – Volume 27, Number 11—November 2021

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Rüdiger D. Ollhoff, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciência Animal da Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Rua Imaculada Conceição, 1155 Prado Velho, Curitiba 80215 901, Paraná, Brazil

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Page created: September 28, 2021
Page updated: October 19, 2021
Page reviewed: October 19, 2021
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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