Prevotella timonensis found in Human abscess

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Higher order taxa

Bacteria; Bacteroidetes; Bacteroidetes; Bacteroidales; Prevotellaceae; Prevotella


Prevotella timonesis

Prevotella Genus

The Genus Prevotella are straight or slightly curved anaerobic rods that are Gram-negative bacteria . These microbes have been found to inhabit the human oral cavity, supper respiratory tract, and urogenital tract. Recently discovered Prevotella species include Prevotella pallens, Prevotella shahii, Prevotella salivae, Prevotella multiformis, Prevotella marshii, Prevotella baroniae, and Prevotella timonensis. Species of the genus Prevotella are part of the normal flora, but can sometimes cause disease. Prevotella have led to liver, spleen, and appendix abscesses (1).

Description and significance

Prevotella timonesis are obligate anaerobes, non-pigmented, non-spore-forming, non-motile, Gram negative straight rods. The 16S rRNA accession number is DG518919. These cells are able to grow on sheep blood agar plate and TSB liquid medium while growth is inhibited by bile (20%). Growth on agar displays a white-greyish color with smooth, shiny colonies. These anaerobes temperature range is between 25-37 °C with an optimum temperature at 37 °C. Prevotella tests negative for Catalase, indole formation, urease activity, aesculin hydrolysis, and fermentation of mannitol, sucrosem sakicin, xylose, arabinose, glycerol, celloboise, mannose, melezitose, raffinose, sorbitol, rhamnose and trehalose but positive for gelatin hydrolysis. Fermentation products include glucose, lactose and maltose. The most prominent fatty acids in Prevotella timonensis are C14 : 0 (19.5 %), C16 : 0 (15.3 %), iso-C14 : 0 (14 %) and a mixture of C18 : 2ω6,9c and C18 : 0 (16 %) (1).

Current Research

Prevotella timonensis was discovered in 2007 and discussed in an article called “Prevotella timonensis sp.nov., isolated from a human breast abscess” by Olga O. Glazunova, Thierry Launay, Didier Raoult and Véronique Roux. In this study a 40 year old woman underwent breast abscess puncture and by blood sample analysis and culture of the organism it was determined to be a member of the genus Prevotella and discovered to be the strain 4401737T. Prevotella has led to oral, liver, spleen, appendix, cervical, and chest wall abscesses, as well as meningitis. Based on results the microbe strain 4401737T represents a species, Prevotella timonensis, named timonensis from Hôpital de la Timone, the hospital in Marseille, France, from where the strain had been isolated (1).

Abscesses due to Prevotella and other Microbial Species

Many different species within the Prevotella genus cause abscesses. In a case done in 2009 it was found that a chest abscess in a 77 year old man was in fact caused by the microbe Prevotella bivia. This microbe is associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. When the 77 year old man went for surgical removal of the abscess it was discovered that the abscess was in fact due to a P.bivia infection. This was the first case of a chest wall abscess due to this particular microbe. In order to treat abscesses caused by Prevotella bivia and other Prevotella microbes it includes a prompt surgery to remove the abscess and antibiotic therapy treatment. Other species of Prevotella (Prevotella oralis and Prevotella ruminicola) can cause lung abscesses in HIV patients (2).

Abscesses can develop when microbes are introduced into a normal sterile body. Anaerobes are more often found in mucus membranes than facultative bacteria, outnumber them by a range of 10:1 to 10,000:1. The major anaerobic microbe found in mucus membranes are gram-negative rods (bacilli). Pigmented Prevotella, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, and Fusobacterium are the main microbes that are present in oral abscesses where Prevotella bivia and Prevotella disiens are the main microbes that colonize pelvic abscesses in the cervical canal. Species within the group Bacteroides fragilis are predominantly found in intra-abdominal and rectal abscesses (3).


(1) Olga O. Glazunova, Thierry Launay, Didier Raoult and Véronique Roux. “Prevotella timonensis sp.nov., isolated from a human breast abscess”. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology”. 2007. Volume 57. P.883-886.

(2) Gwo-jong. Hsu, Cheng-ren. Chen, Mei-chu. Lai, and Shi-ping. Luh. “Chest wall abscess due to Prevotella bivia”. “Journal of Zhejiang University Science B”. 2009. Volume 10. P.233-236.

(3) I. Brogden KA, Guthmiller JM, editors. “Polymicrobial Diseases”. Washington (DC): ASM Press; 2002. “Chapter 9:Abscesses”.

Edited by Lindsay Fox, student of Rachel Larsen at the University of Southern Maine