Rediae of the trematode Echinostoma trivolvis, from naturally infected Helisoma trivolvis snails, form a black pigment while inside the snail host. Here we examine the black pigment to show that the insolubility characteristics in detergent and weak base solution are identical to Plasmodium falciparum hemozoin. Laser desorption mass spectrometry of the purified pigment demonstrates the presence of heme. Examination of purified pigment under polarized light microscopy illuminates ordered birefringent crystals. Field emission in lens scanning electron microscopy reveals irregular ovoid crystals of 200-300 nm in diameter. The purified pigment crystals seeded extension of monomeric heme onto the crystal which by Fourier Transform Infrared analysis is β-hematin. Rediae of a second echinostome parasite, Echinostoma caproni, from experimentally infected Biomphalaria glabrata, do not produce measurable or recoverable heme crystals. These observations are consistent with heme crystal formation by a hematophagous parasite within a non-vertebrate intermediate host.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases