Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Resistant prions

13.08.2008
Prions, the pathogens that cause scrapie in sheep, can survive in the ground for several years, as researchers have discovered. Animals can become infected via contaminated pastures. It is not yet known whether the pathogens that cause BSE and CWD are equally resistant

A flock of sheep at pasture – a seemingly idyllic scene. But appearances can be deceptive: If the animals are suffering from scrapie, entire flocks may perish. Scrapie is an infectious disease in which prions destroy the animal’s brain, rather like BSE. The brain becomes porous, the sheep lose their orientation, they suffer from strong itching sensations and scrape off their fleece. Eventually, the infected animals die.

It is difficult to contain the disease – all too often, scrapie will break out again on the same farm several months or years after it has apparently been eradicated. Are the prions transmitted not only by direct contact, but also by the environment – perhaps by the pastures? How long do prions that get into the pasture via the saliva and excrements of the sick animals, persist in the ground?

Together with fellow-scientists from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health) on the island of Riems, research scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME in Schmallenberg investigated these questions on behalf of the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety BMU. “We mixed soil samples with scrapie pathogens to find out how long the pathogens would survive,” says Dr. Björn Seidel, who headed the investigations at IME. “Even after 29 months, in other words more than two years, we were still able to detect prions in the soil.”

But are these prions still infectious? “The soil actually seems to increase the infectiousness of the pathogens. The incubation period – the time it takes for the disease to break out – is exceedingly short even after the prions have persisted in the soil for 29 months. All of the animals that were given contaminated soil became sick within a very short time. These results indicate that fresh incidences of scrapie among sheep are due to contaminated pastures,” says Seidel in summary. The results of the study reveal that sheep may even become infected from the surface water, though the risk of infection is much lower in this case. There is no danger to humans, however: scrapie pathogens seem unable to affect them.

Another cause for concern is chronic wasting disease (CWD). Like BSE and scrapie, this is caused by prions, but it mainly affects deer. The numbers of infected animals in North America are rising steeply. How long do BSE and CWD prions survive in the ground? “To find this out, we urgently need to carry out further tests. The appropriate research applications have already been submitted,” says Seidel.

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de
http://www.fraunhofer.de/EN/press/pi/2008/08/ResearchNews082008Topic1.jsp

Further reports about: BSE CWD Scrapie Soil chronic wasting disease incubation period pathogens prions scrapie pathogens sheep

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The world's tiniest first responders
21.06.2018 | University of Southern California

nachricht A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå
21.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

The world's tiniest first responders

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>