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Pseudomonas Detection : Bacterial species

Sep 10, 2018

Pseudomonas is a common bacterial species that can cause numerous types of infections. There are various sub species / strains of the pseudomonas bacteria species.

Pseudomonas auruginosa has made the headlines recently as infections are becoming difficult to treat due to its resistance to antibiotics.

Because pseudomonas auruginosa can be found in the natural environment (water and soil), it often contaminates areas that humans use such as hot tubs. In turn, people then end up with a pseudomonas infection. This species group is very often found in hospitals and healthcare settings. It predominantly affects those with compromised immune systems.

Pseudomonas is a genus of Pseudomonadaceae. Pseudomonas are aerobic, gram negative bacteria.
There are over 200 species / classifications of pseudomonas. Certain members of this genus are pathogenic to plants, humans and animals with 3 being specifically pathogenic to humans.

Some of these are outlined below (all of the below sub species will grow on Pseudomonas CFC Agar, the agar used in our dipslides).

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

(species group - Pseudomonas aeruginosa group) - Although this species cause the most damage to immune compromised patients, healthy people can also become affected by mild illnesses associated with the bacteria. It can be spread through water, hands and equipment.

P. Aeruginosa thrives in warm conditions which is why swimming pools and hot tubs are often infected with it. Because it is so adaptable and can survive in such varied environments, P. aeruginosa can be become a major problem for healthcare providers. This is particularly due to the fact that it is also found in hospitals due to contaminated equipment etc.

P. Aeruginosa can cause a wide variety of infections including skin, urine, ear, lung, eye, blood, abdominal, bone and joint, soft tissue and wound infections. In some cases, becoming infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa can be fatal e.g if the patient develops pneumonia.
This bacteria also causes the common Pseudomonas folliculitis rash or 'hot tub rash'.

Burkholderia cepacia

(formally classed as Pseudomonas but can still grow on pseudomonas cfc agar) Found in water and soil, eradicates a lot of soil / plant pathogens so acts as a natural pesticide. However, it is also a human pathogen that can cause urinary, abdominal, wound, soft tissue and lung infections. Like P. auruginosa, it is often resistant to antibiotics. A person can become infected by coming into contact with contaminated equipment, the bacteria within the environment or human to human contact.

Pseudomonas putida

Predominantly infects plants with strains that spread and thrive in the plants roots. Strangely, this bacteria can actually help the plant to grow and protects it from other bacteria. Closely related to pseudomonas aeruginosa, it has been known to infect humans and animals.

It has even caused fatal soft tissue / blood infections in people (isolated incidents). As with P.aeruginosa, strains of P. putida can be drug resistant and it can be found in healthcare settings. Again, this bacteria mainly infects those that have compromised immune systems. However, infections in humans are rare.
It very often infects fish, there are reports of rainbow trout being particularly affected by skin infections.

Pseudomonas fluorescens

Like P. putida, this bacteria colonises plant leaves and roots and can help with the growth of the plant (protecting the plant from toxins and pathogens). Due to its ability to break down carbohydrates and fatty acids, it is a spoilage organism for food including meat, fish and dairy. It is pathogenic to fish and can affect immune compromised garden fish such as koi.

Like P. putida, on rare occasions P. fluorescens has infected people. Again this usually occurs in healthcare settings where patients have low immunity. It usually manifests as a blood infection.

Detecting pseudomonas using our dipslides

Our dipslides contain Pseudomonas CFC Agar for the isolation of Pseudomonas spp. All of the above species of Pseudomonas grow on this medium.

Colony Appearance
Pseudomonas auruginosa appears as straw / green colonies.
Burkholderia cepacia appears as straw / brown colonies.

Dipslides containing Pseudomonas CFC Agar:

Pseudomonas and Nutrient Dipslides

Pseudomonas and MacConkey3 Dipslides

If you require a dipslide with Pseudomonas CN Agar (selective for pseudomonas auruginosa specifically), please contact us.


A Lethal Case of Pseudomonas putida Bacteremia Due to Soft Tissue Infection
Benjamin S. Thomas, MD, Koh Okamoto, MD, Matthew J. Bankowski, PhD,and Todd B. Seto, MD, MPH

Nosocomial Pseudomonas putida Bacteremia: High Rates of Carbapenem Resistance and Mortality
Seong Eun Kim, Seong-Hwan Park, Hyun Bum Park, Kyung-Hwa Park, Su-Hyun Kim,3 Sook-In Jung, Jong-Hee Shin,1 Hee-Chang Jang,2 and Seung Ji Kang

Pseudomonas putida infection in rainbow trout
Ilhan Altinok, Sevki Kayis, Erol Capkin