Protists of the Blastocystis genus are distributed worldwide and can infect a range of hosts. However, data concerning Blastocystis infection are limited for sika deer and are not available for black bears. Therefore, in the present study, a total of 312 black bears (Ursus thibetanus) from Heilongjiang Province and 760 sika deer (Cervus nippon) from four different northern Chinese provinces were investigated. Blastocystis infection in these animals was detected via PCR amplification of the small subunit rRNA gene in fecal samples. The prevalence of Blastocystis infection in black bears and sika deer was 14.4% (45/312 positive samples) and 0.8% (6/760 positive samples), respectively. Young black bears (18.3%) had a significantly higher Blastocystis prevalence than adult bears (9.1%). The prevalence of Blastocystis was significantly higher in black bears raised outdoors (24.6%) than in bears raised indoors (12.2%). Blastocystis-positive sika deer were only found in Jilin Province (1.3%, 6/480). Female sika deer (0%, 0/61) had a significantly lower Blastocystis prevalence than males (0.9%, 6/699). Sanger sequencing was used to determine the small subunit rRNA gene sequences of the Blastocystis-positive PCR products. A neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree based on the small subunit rRNA gene sequences showed that only Blastocystis subtype (ST)1 was identified in black bears, whereas ST10 and ST14 were found in sika deer. This is the first report of Blastocystis ST1 infection in black bears. These findings also extend the distribution information of Blastocystis subtypes, which will provide a foundation for further study of Blastocystis in different hosts in China.
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We thank the scientists and personnel of the Qingdao Agricultural University, Jilin Agricultural University, State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Etiological Biology, Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, and Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University, for their collaboration.
This work was supported by the Research Foundation for Distinguished Scholars of Qingdao Agricultural University (665-1120044, 665-1120046).
This study was approved by the Animal Administration and Ethics Committee of Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science. The black bear and sika deer, from which the feces were collected, were handled in accordance with the good animal practices required by the Animal Ethics Procedures and Guidelines of the People’s Republic of China.
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Ni, HB., Gong, QL., Zhang, NZ. et al. Molecular detection of Blastocystis in black bears and sika deer in northern China. Parasitol Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-021-07068-0
- Black bear
- Sika deer
- Northern China