The fine structure of intra-erythrocytic stages of Babesia bigemina

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • Abstract:

    The electron microscope was used to study the structure of merozoites, merozoites in the process of transformation to trophozoites, trophozoites, and the method of multiplication of B. bigemina. The merozoites were piriform in shape and surrounded by 3 peripheral membranes of which the 2 inner ones often appeared as a single thick osmiophilic structure (inner membrane). Anterior and posterior polar rings, microtubules, micronemes, rhoptries and mitochondria with and without tubular cristae were discernible. A single large unidentified spherical body was present in most of the mature merozoites. After penetration of an erythrocyte, merozoites developed into trophozoites through a transformation process which involved the loss of the inner membrane of the pellicle, rhoptries, most of the micronemes and the spherical body. The trophozoites were surrounded by a single membrane, were pleomorphic in shape and contained large inclusions of host cell cytoplasm, but no cytostomes or food vacuoles could be identified. Reproduction took place through a process resembling schizogony resulting in the production of 2 merozoites, the cytoplasmic constituents of the original trophozoite (mother cell) being virtually entirely incorporated into the daughter cells in the process. None of the parasites were contained in parasitophorous vacuoles.