The suitability of the API ZYM system for identifying thermophilic Naegleria species, based on enzyme presence and activity, was investigated. Replicate testing on strains of N fowleri, N lovaniensis, and N australiensis cultured in a monoxenic and an axenic medium showed that the system could provide a rapid and reproducible means of identifying the species soon after primary isolation. No single enzyme was found specific for any one species, but considerable differences were found in the patterns of activity of acid phosphatase and leucine arylamidase. When these were compared the species could be differentiated. Use of the system in conjunction with a simple culture method is proposed as a readily available means of monitoring environmental and public bathing sites to prevent primary amoebic meningoencephalitis.
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