We showed by a laboratory experiment that four different Campylobacter jejuni strains are able to infect the protozoan Acanthamoeba polyphaga. C. jejuni cells survived for longer periods when cocultured with amoebae than when grown in culture alone. The infecting C. jejuni cells aggregated in amoebic vacuoles, in which they were seen to be actively moving. Furthermore, a resuscitation of bacterial cultures that were previously negative in culturability tests was observed after reinoculation into fresh amoeba cultures. After spontaneous rupture of the amoebae, C. jejuni could be detected by microscopy and culturability tests. Our results indicate that amoebae may serve as a nonvertebrate reservoir for C. jejuni in the environment.
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