Projects carried out in 2018

  • Identification of bateriophages - In collaboration with the Food Microbiology Laboratory of the ETH Zurich (E. Goméz-Sanz) - This project focuses on non-hemolytic Staphylococcus bacteriophages. Thanks to our collection, we have been able to supply strains that are well characterized for the isolation of lytic and temperate beans for use in food sanitization. In the field of bacteriophages, a scientific article on the role of bacteriophages in the spread of resistance genes between strains of environmental Aeromonas has been written, which, according to the reviewers, needs to be reviewed before possible publication.
  • Vegetative culture control for cheese production - Analyses continued for the Agricultural Consultancy Office (UCA) for the weekly determination of the ratio of lactobacilli and streptococci in vegetative crops that serve as inoculants for dairies in the Canton of Ticino; this regular service allows the UCA to have a quality control of the inoculants that are distributed on the territory of Ticino in the context of cheese production.
  • Fish analysis - On behalf of the Office for Hunting and Fisheries under an annual mandate, LMA has carried out various analyses for the detection of flavobacteria in fish from fish farms and the subsequent analysis of susceptibility to antibiotics. This service is also part of a network of pathogens that can develop resistance to antibiotics in the water sector. Knowledge of the mechanisms of proliferation and the spectrum of antibiotic resistance of these problematic germs are of paramount importance. At the end of 2018, a research project aimed at improving techniques for the identification and typing of these pathogenic bacteria was submitted and could be implemented in 2019.
  • Taxonomy of aquatic ifomycetes - In 2018, the taxonomic analysis of the aquatic ifomycetes species Tetracladium marchalianum continued with a comparison of different European strains (France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden). The drafting of a scientific publication is in progress.
  • Taxonomic determination of phytoplankton groups responsible for the production of micro pearls - The collaboration with the group of limnology and geomicrobiology (Section of Earth Sciences, University of Geneva) has continued with the drafting of a scientific publication. This article will be submitted in 2019.
  • Update of recognition databases - In 2016, the Federal Office of the Environment financed the LMA for the acquisition of a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry device from Bruker Daltonics (Microflex Biotyper). In addition to the classical database containing various clinical, environmental and food bacteria and yeasts, three databases were included for the identification of filamentous fungi, mycobacteria and group 3 organisms. During the year 2018 the current databases were completed with the creation of reference spectra to be used for the identification of mosquitoes eggs. Before being applied for routine identification, the system still needs some validation tests that are being carried out from summer 2019.
  • Saprolegnia - In June 2018 the Saprolegnia project, which started on 15 December 2015, was completed. Saprolegnia is a secondary pathogenic oomycetes common in fish that normally does not cause death. However, in the last three years, outbreaks of Saprolegnia in the River Doubs and other Swiss waterways have caused increased mortality in fish. Saprolegnia parasite strains responsible for high mortality have been typed by means of molecular characteristics (multilocus sequence typing). The analysis allowed to determine different genotypes of Saprolegnia parasitica and their distribution in Swiss river basins. The final report was submitted in June 2018 and the results published in a scientific journal (Ravasi et al., 2018). The project was a collaboration between the LMA and the University of Bern (NAFUS, FIWI, Vetsuisse Fakultät), and was funded by various bodies (BAFU, several cantons and private fishing associations). For the collection of samples in Ticino, LMA also collaborated with the Office for Hunting and Fishing.