Haemolytic activity of soil from areas of varying podoconiosis endemicity in EthiopiaReport as inadecuate

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Podoconiosis, non-filarial elephantiasis, is a non-infectious disease found in tropical regions such as Ethiopia, localized in highland areas with volcanic soils cultivated by barefoot subsistence farmers. It is thought that soil particles can pass through the soles of the feet and taken up by the lymphatic system, leading to the characteristic chronic oedema of the lower legs that becomes disfiguring and disabling over time.


The close association of the disease with volcanic soils led us to investigate the characteristics of soil samples in an endemic area in Ethiopia to identify the potential causal constituents. We used the in vitro haemolysis assay and compared haemolytic activity HA with soil samples collected in a non-endemic region of the same area in Ethiopia. We included soil samples that had been previously characterized, in addition we present other data describing the characteristics of the soil and include pure phase mineral standards as comparisons.


The bulk chemical composition of the soils were statistically significantly different between the podoconiosis-endemic and non-endemic areas, with the exception of CaO and Cr. Likewise, the soil mineralogy was statistically significant for iron oxide, feldspars, mica and chlorite. Smectite and kaolinite clays were widely present and elicited a strong HA, as did quartz, in comparison to other mineral phases tested, although no strong difference was found in HA between soils from the two areas. The relationship was further investigated with principle component analysis PCA, which showed that a combination of an increase in Y, Zr and Al2O3, and a concurrent increase Fe2O3, TiO2, MnO and Ba in the soils increased HA.


The mineralogy and chemistry of the soils influenced the HA, although the interplay between the components is complex. Further research should consider the variable biopersistance, hygroscopicity and hardness of the minerals and further characterize the nano-scale particles.

Author: Jennifer S. Le Blond , Peter J. Baxter, Dhimiter Bello, Jennifer Raftis, Yordanos B. Molla, Javier Cuadros, Gail Davey

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/


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