Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia species DNA Detection by PCR

Pathogenic Acanthamoeba as seen under a light microscope
Figure 1. Pathogenic Acanthamoeba as seen under a light microscope.
Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, Naveed A. Khan and Julia Walochnik - (2015).

Free living amoeba of the Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia families are opportunistic protozoans that are widely distributed in the environment and are well recognized to produce serious human infections, including cutaneous infections, keratitis, and encephalitis. Although these infections are relatively rare, they can incur significant morbidity and mortality.

PCR has emerged as a key tool in diagnosing disease caused by these organisms, and has been shown to outperform conventional tests in terms of turnaround times, sensitivity, and specificity (1,2).

Our broad range PCR assay offers highly sensitive molecular identification of Acanthamoeba and Balamuthia species, having a limit of detection of a single organism per reaction. Uniquely, our broad-range test provides clinical diagnosis of infections caused by either of those genera using a single test.


  1. K. Khairnar, G.S. Tamber, F. Ralevski, D.R. Pillai Comparison of molecular diagnostic methods for the detection of Acanthamoeba spp. from clinical specimens submitted for keratitis.
    Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis, 70 (2011), pp. 499-506
  2. J. Lorenzo-Morales, N.A. Khan, J. Walochnik
    An update on Acanthamoeba keratitis: diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment. Parasite, 22 (2015), p. 10