Printer Friendly

Panosis: a new word or a forgotten world?

There is no evidence for the eyes that do not want to see but for the determined and eager heart willing to learn and understand

Having always worked in the veterinary field, I had never seriously considered the potential role that antimicrobial-resistant bacteria released to the environment by livestock could play in plant health status.

In fact, I had no notion whether the use of antibiotics for crop protection was significantly widespread or what legal framework, if any, applied to the issue within the European Union (E.U.), the United States of America (U.S.), and other developed countries.

Having observed that streptomycin and tetracycline (1) have been two of the molecules of choice in agriculture for decades and noticing the lack of E.U. and U.S. federal legislation concerning these substances, including banning them for this purpose, I realized that a more global explanation of the origin of the growing resistance of some animal and human microbes relating to the effects of malpractice in agriculture on veterinary therapeutics and human medicine treatments was necessary.

These thoughts led me down paths that had little to do with my original idea as I wondered whether any of the plant bacterial pathogenic species would equally be capable of affecting vertebrate animals and humans.

I checked various lists of the major causative agents of plant diseases and reached a startling conclusion: some microorganisms are responsible for infections and morbid processes in both the vegetable and animal kingdoms, derived from their similar molecular basis and mechanisms of pathogenesis. That is the case for different Gram-negative rods, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia, as well as the Deuteromycete fungus Aspergillus niger (Table 1), demonstrating that flora and fauna, including humans, represent not separate, independent worlds but two interacting sides of the same reality.

These shared pathogenic conditions whose connections were never studied in a comprehensive way also generate a more complex topic: a new term must be coined for infections that living plants, and not merely stored vegetable by-products or contaminated decomposing matter, can pass to vertebrate animals and humans acting as bioconcentrators and biomagnifiers.

According to the World Health Organization, zoonosis [Gr. [zeta][??]ov(animal) + vo[sigma]o[zeta] (disease)] (1959) and anthropozoonosis [Gr. [??]v[theta]p[omega][pi]o(man) + [zeta][??]ov (animal) + vo[sigma]o[zeta] (disease)] can be defined as any disease and/or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans. Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902) conceived the word in the 19th century, more than 150 years ago, when he was investigating several aspects of Trichinella.

Unfortunately, the previously described examples represent a new concept of global infection for which a new name must be proposed or suggested, an acceptable etymological contribution being "panosis" [Gr. [pi][alpha]v (all/inclusive/encompassing) + vo[sigma]o[zeta] (disease)] as a synonym for anthropozoo-phytonosis [Gr. [??]v[theta]p[omega][pi]o (man) + [zeta][??]ov (animal) + [phi][upsilon][tau]ov (plant) + vo[sigma]o[zeta] (disease)] if direct and equivalent to phytozooanthroponosis for the reverse. Perhaps this is the missing link in an overall approach to the matter that may open a door to novel possibilities in systematically researching this model that has remained unexplored until the present, becoming a source of unpredictable challenges.


1. McManus PS, Stockwell VO, Sundin GW, Jones AL. Antibiotic use in plant agriculture. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2002;40:443-65.

2. Burkholder WH. Sour skin, a bacterial rot of onion bulbs. Phytopathology. 1950;40:115-7.

3. Elrod RP, Braun AC. Pseudomonas aeruginosa: its role as a plant pathogen. J Bacteriol. 1942;44:633-45.

4. Kominos SD, Copeland CE, Grosiak B, Postic B. Introduction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa into a hospital via vegetables. Appl Microbiol. 1972;24:567-70.

5. Quinn PJ, Carter ME, Markey B, Carter GR. Clinical veterinary microbiology. London: Mosby; 1998.

6. Pier GB, Grout M, Zaidi TS, Olsen JC, Johnson LG, Yankaskas JR, et al. Role of mutant CFTR in hypersusceptibility of cystic fibrosis patients to lung infections. Science. 1996;271:64-7.

7. Britigan BE, Rasmussen GT, Cox CD. Augmentation of oxidant injury to human pulmonary epithelial cells by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa siderophore pyochelin. Infect Immun. 1997;63: 1071-6.

8. Holmes A, Govan J, Goldstein R. Agricultural use of Burkholderia cepacia: a threat to human health? Emerg Infect Dis. 1998;4(2):221-7.

9. Berriatua E, Ziluaga I, Miguel-Virto C, Uribarren P, Juste R, Laevens S, et al. Outbreak of subclinical mastitis in a flock of dairy sheep associated with Burkholderia cepacia complex infection. J Clin Microbiol. 2001;39(2):990-4.

10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. Burkholderia cepacia. Fact sheet. Available from: Accessed 26 March 2004.

11. Fajardo Olivares M, Cordero Carrasco JL, Beteta Lopez A, Escobar Izquierdo AB, Sacristan Enciso B. Faringitis por Burkholderia cepacia. 2004. Transmision de persona a persona. An Pediatr (Barc). 2004;60(6):581-2.

12. Abd-Alla MA, El-Mohamedy RSR, Badeaa RI. Effect of some volatile compounds on black mould disease on onion bulbs during storage. Res J Agric Biol Sci. 2006;2(6):384-90.

13. Beer J. Infektionskrankheiten der Haustiere. 2nd ed. Jena: VEB Fischer-Verlag; 1980.

14. Muntz FHA. Oxalate-producing pulmonary aspergillosis in an alpaca. Vet Pathol. 1999;36:631-2.

15. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. Aspergillosis. Technical information by the Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. Available from: Accessed 6 October 2005.

Eduardo E. Respaldiza

Bacteriology Department

Madrid Regional Veterinary Laboratory

Ctra. Guadalix de la Sierra Km. 1,800

Colmenar Viejo

Madrid 28770


TABLE 1. Infections common to plants, vertebrate animals, and humans

                         Transmissible infection/disease
                         cited in literature

Microbe                  Plants                 Animals

Pseudomonas              Infections in          Mastitis, enteritis,
aeruginosa (a,b,c)       tomato, lettuce,       pneumonia, cystitis,
(transmissible through   onion, and             endocarditis,
direct contact and       tobacco (2-4)          dermatitis,
aerosols)                                       conjunctivitis, and
                                                wound infections in
                                                several species (5)

Burkholderia             Rot of onions known    Mastitis in sheep (9)
cepacia (a,b,c)          as slippery skin (8)
through direct contact
and aerosols)

Aspergillus              Black mold             Abortions in bovines
niger (a,b,c)            disease (12)           (13) and pulmonary
(infection acquired                             aspergillosis in
by inhalation)                                  ruminants (13, 14)
                                                and poultry (13)

                         Transmissible infection/disease
                         cited in literature

Microbe                  Humans

Pseudomonas              Pulmonary complications in cystic
aeruginosa (a,b,c)       fibrosis (6) and an opportunistic
(transmissible through   human pathogen (7)
direct contact and

Burkholderia             Pulmonary complications in cystic
cepacia (a,b,c)          fibrosis, nosocomial infections and
(transmissible           infections in immunosuppressed
through direct contact   individuals (10), and faringitis (11)
and aerosols)

Aspergillus              Pulmonary aspergillosis (15)
niger (a,b,c)
(infection acquired
by inhalation)

(a) When solely plants and animals, not humans, are involved
it should be considered a zoophytonosis.

(b) When solely plants and humans are involved it should be
considered an anthropophytonosis.

(c) When plants, animals, and humans are involved it should be
considered a panosis or an anthropozoophytonosis.
COPYRIGHT 2008 Pan American Health Organization
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Respaldiza, Eduardo E.
Publication:Revista Panamericana de Salud Publica
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Previous Article:Planificacion de la preparacion para la influenza pandemica: esfuerzos regionales.
Next Article:Sindrome metabolico y factores de riesgo asociados con el estilo de vida de adolescentes de una ciudad de Argentina, 2005.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters