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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 208-209

Siderophore production among clinical and healthy skin isolates of Acinetobacter species

1 Department of Microbiology, Dr. ALM Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai, India
2 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Madras Medical Mission, Mogappair, Chennai, India

Date of Submission03-Feb-2013
Date of Acceptance06-May-2013
Date of Web Publication19-Jul-2013

Correspondence Address:
S S Ramesh
Department of Microbiology, Dr. ALM Post Graduate Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Madras, Taramani, Chennai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.115248

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How to cite this article:
Prakasam G, Rohit A, Kumar S, Ramesh S S. Siderophore production among clinical and healthy skin isolates of Acinetobacter species. Indian J Med Microbiol 2013;31:208-9

How to cite this URL:
Prakasam G, Rohit A, Kumar S, Ramesh S S. Siderophore production among clinical and healthy skin isolates of Acinetobacter species. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Oct 25];31:208-9. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Until 1980s, Acinetobacter baumannii was considered to be a low-grade commensal organism that at worst was a potential opportunistic pathogen often ignored by clinicians. [1] It has emerged as an important nosocomial pathogen incriminated in outbreaks of hospital acquired infections in recent times. [2] Up to 30% of bacterial load accounts for Acinetobacter spp. from healthy human skin. [3] There are increasing reports of Acinetobacter spp. other than baumannii being isolated from clinical specimens. However, other Acinetobacter spp. are frequently ignored as contaminants from environment and hence are of little clinical significance. [4] In a human host, the availability of free iron is very limited (10−8 M), since it is tightly bound to proteins such as haemoglobin, transferrin, and lactoferrin. Thus, iron acquisition can be achieved by producing siderophores that chelates the iron from its insoluble form, which is then readily available for the microbes for various metabolic processes, determining its pathogenicity. [5] Since there is a paucity of data in relation with virulence factors involved in pathogenicity of Acinetobacter spp., the present study was done to characterize a sum of 108 clinical isolates of A. baumannii from different clinical specimens and 28 Acinetobacter spp skin isolates from healthy individuals for siderophore secretion in universal chrome azurol S (CAS) assay medium. [6] Human ethical clearance was obtained from Institutional Ethical Committee prior to the study. For collection of skin isolates individuals with no history of any clinical illness particularly skin ailments for the past 1 month were included in our study. Amongst 108 A. baumannii from different clinical specimens, 10/38 from endotracheal aspirates, 3/20 from blood, 2/15 from pus, 3/10 from urine, 1/8 from sputum, 3/5 from wound swabs, 1/2 and 1/1 from nasopharyngeal aspirates and diabetic foot ulcer isolates respectively were found to be positive for siderophore production. Of five bronchoalveolar lavage, three oropharyngeal aspirates and one central vein tip A. baumannii isolates, none of these showed positivity for siderophore. In all, 24/108 (22.2%) isolates were positive for siderophore from different specimens. Isolates from endotracheal aspirates showed better positivity when compared to others. Of 28 (24 Acinetobacter lwoffii and 4 Acinetobacter junii) skin isolates from healthy individuals only six (21.4%) A. lwoffii isolates were siderophore positive [Table 1]. Similar kind of study conducted by Pal and Gokarn used different bacteria of which only six Acinetobacter were from clinical specimens and five isolates from throat swabs of healthy individuals were assessed for siderophore production and found that there was an insignificant difference in the siderophore production by these isolates. [7] Whereas, in the present study increased number of Acinetobacter isolates from clinical samples and skin of healthy individuals were employed and showed a significant variation for siderophore production. This may be one of the possible determinants involved in the pathogenicity of Acinetobacter spp. This is the first report of Acinetobacter spp. from clinical samples and skin of healthy individuals producing siderophore in Indian context. Apart from A. baumannii, several clinical conditions are frequently reported with other Acinetobacter spp. as a pathogen in debilitated intensive care unit patients. Since, these organisms colonize the skin, there may be a possibility of gaining entry to be successful invaders and this may be promoted by ability to produce siderophores by these outrageous pathogen.

 ~ References Top

1.Peleg AY, Seifert H, Paterson DL. Acinetobacter baumannii: Emergence of a successful pathogen. Clin Microbiol Rev 2008; 21:538-82.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Giamarellou H. Treatment options for multidrug-resistant bacteria. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 2006; 4:601-18.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Yavankar SP, Pardesi KR, Chopade BA. Species distribution and physiological characterization of Acinetobacter genospecies from healthy human skin of tribal population in India. Indian J Med Microbiol 2007; 25:336-45.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Patil JR, Chopade BA. Distribution and in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of Acinetobacter species on the skin of healthy humans. Natl Med J India 2001; 14:204-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Eijkelkamp BA, Hassan KA, Paulsen IT, Brown MH. Investigation of the human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii under iron limiting conditions. BMC Genomics 2011; 12:126.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Schwyn B, Neilands JB. Universal chemical assay for the detection and determination of siderophores. Anal Biochem 1987; 160:47-56.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Pal RB, Gokarn K. Siderophores and pathogenicity of microorganisms. J Biosci Tech 2010; 1:127-34.  Back to cited text no. 7


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