Acta Tropica, vol.233, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.Microsporidia are obligate intracellular fungus-like parasites that infect humans and animals worldwide. However, there is limited epidemiological data on the occurrence and molecular diversity of microsporidia in buffaloes worldwide. In the present study, fecal samples of 300 water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) in Kayseri, Sivas, and Samsun provinces of Turkey were investigated using two nested PCR assays targeting the rRNA of E. bieneusi and Encephalitozoon spp. All the fecal samples from water buffalo were found to be negative for Encephalitozoon spp. PCR positive isolates of E. bieneusi were bidirectionally sequenced for genotyping and phylogenetic analyses. Enterocytozoon bieneusi was the only microsporidian species identified in 8 water buffaloes with an overall molecular prevalence of 2.7%. Two known genotypes, YNDCEB-90 (n = 5) and J (n = 3) were identified by ITS sequence analysis. The YNDCEB-90 and J genotypes fall into zoonotic Group 1 and 2 of E. bieneusi in the phylogenetic tree, respectively. These findings suggested that water buffalo in Turkey are harbouring zoonotic genotypes of E. bieneusi and may have a significant risk for zoonotic transmission to humans. This is the first report of detecting E. bieneusi genotypes J and YNDCEB-90 in water buffaloes. Further insight into the epidemiology of E. bieneusi in water buffaloes in different geographical areas in Turkey will be highly important to have determined the public health significance of this pathogen.