Two-step (culture and PCR) diagnostic approach for differentiation of non-T. foetus trichomonads from genitalia of virgin beef bulls in Argentina

C. M. Campero, C. Rodriguez Dubra, A. Bolondi, C. Cacciato, E. Cobo, S. Perez, A. Odeon, A. Cipolla, Robert Bondurant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Preputial fluids from 567 virgin Angus and Hereford bulls, 1-2 years old, were inoculated into Sutherland medium, and approximately 8.4% produced cultures with a protozoan suggestive of Tritrichomonas foetus. Under brightfield microscopy, large numbers of single-celled motile organisms with multiple anterior flagellae, a posterior flagellum, axostyle, and a visible undulating membrane were detectable. Motility was jerky and rolling, as described for T. foetus. Air-dried smears of cultures stained with Giemsa or Diff-Quick + iodine revealed an organism similar to T. foetus, although somewhat more rounded. Several organisms appeared to have four anterior flagellae. Scanning electron microscopy (5000×) of representative samples revealed four anterior flagellae on most organisms, and an axostyle that was consistently longer than that seen in T. foetus. Using pan-trichomonal primers and T. foetus-specific primers in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, amplification products of 372bp were detected in all virgin bull isolates, but only with the pan-trichomonal primers. Positive control isolates of T. foetus yielded amplification products of the expected size (372 and 347bp) with the two sets of primers, respectively. We conclude that these protozoa are not T. foetus, and note the similarity of these findings with those reported earlier in North American beef cattle. Because in several countries there is no legal treatment for bovine trichomonosis, veterinarians recommend slaughter of bulls with positive preputial cultures. The existence of easily mis-identified non-T. foetus trichomonads in the bovine prepuce suggests that the current "gold standard" diagnostic test (culture of preputial scrapings or washings) should be augmented with a more specific confirming test, such as the PCR employed in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 10 2003


  • Argentina
  • PCR
  • Trichomonad
  • Trichomonosis
  • Tritrichomonas foetus
  • Virgin bull

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)


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