Assessment of a Proposed Method of Trypanosoma cruzi Detection in Frozen Mammalian Tissues from Natural History Collections in Texas


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This study examined a proposed method of detecting the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi in tissue samples of mammalian museum specimens proposed by Pinto et al. (2010). Pinto et al (2010) detected the presence of T. cruzi in 42 out of 159 Neotoma micropus from the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area. This study re-examined the 42 T. cruzi-positive tissue samples used in Pinto’s study and failed to detect a single positive for T. cruzi. In addition, 50 samples of 16 species of mammals from Concho and Val Verde counties from the Angelo State Natural History Collection were tested for the presence of T. cruzi. None of these tissue samples tested positive for presence of the parasite. The results of this current study do not support the use of frozen tissues from museum collections for the detection of the parasite T. cruzi from a known endemic geographical region. Several proposals are presented in an effort to explain the discrepancy in the results of these two studies.