Development of a method for the concentration and recovery of microsporidia from tap water

Scott W. Stine, Frank D. Vladich, Ian L. Pepper, Charles P. Gerba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites. Microsporidian spores infect a wide variety of hosts, including humans. The spores may be found in infected hosts' urine and feces, thus waterborne transmission is possible. This study details method development for the detection of microsporidia in tap water. In this study, filtration, centrifugation, purification, and detection parameters were optimized for the detection of microsporidia. The Pall-Gelman Envirocheck sampling capsule (Pall Gelman, Ann Arbor, MI) was chosen as the filter element. Optimal centrifugal force for spore recovery was 1500 × g. Additionally, it was determined that eluting microsporidia spores in a detergent elution buffer solution had a detrimental effect on spore recovery. A direct examination of the concentrate resulted in a greater recovery with less variability than subjecting the sample concentrate to a Percoll-sucrose density gradient purification step. The staining method employed for the detection spores was Calcofluor white (Sigma, St. Louis, MO). Percent recoveries for 10 L tap water samples (n = 5) using the Envirocheck sampling capsule without a density gradient purification step were 26.1 ± 13.4 compared to 25 ± 13.8 for samples subjected to a density gradient purification step.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-925
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005


  • Concentration
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi
  • Encephalitozoon intestinalis
  • Microsporidia
  • Tap water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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