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NEELA PENUMARTHY
HUMBIO 103

 
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INTRODUCTION

The path to classification of Blastocystis hominis has been plagued by interruption—and remains so to this day. While Brumpt coined the name Blastocystis hominis in 1912, it was hardly a new discovery, as scientists as early as 1849 had been reporting it (Baron, 245). Brittan and Swain, scholars and prolific writers of the London Cholera Epidemic of 1849, implicated B. hominis as the causative agent of the epidemic—upon further analysis the “cholera body” and “annular” cells that they describe as agents of the disease are more likely Ascaris lumbricoides ova than B. hominis (Zierdt). Because its form is easily confused with other parasites and its pathogenicity is not immediately clear, scientists have historically struggled (and continue to do so) with classification.

It is considered to be a member of the informal “stramenophile” group (Parasite Image Library).

While there are no synonyms for Blastocystis hominis, it has undergone a myriad of name changes which may show up in the literature—from Blastocystis enterocola in 1911, to the currently accepted Blastocystis hominis the following year; in 1932 Micheletti proposed “Blastocystis jalinus” with little success (Zierdt).

 
 

 
Current classification of Blastocystis hominis:

Domain/Superkingdom: Protista
Phylum: Sarcomastigophora
Order: Amoebida (or Blastocystea)
Family: Blastocystidae
Genus: Blastocystis
Species: hominis
(Baron, 304)