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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: EFFICIENT MANAGEMENT AND USE OF ANIMAL MANURE TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

Title: The Transport of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis through Saturated Aquifer Materials

Authors
item Bolster, Carl
item Cook, Kimberly
item Haznedaroglu, Berat - UC RIVERSIDE
item Walker, Sharon - UC RIVERSIDE

Submitted to: Letters in Applied Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2008
Publication Date: February 11, 2009
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/43650
Citation: Bolster, C.H., Cook, K.L., Haznedaroglu, B.Z., Walker, S.L. 2009. The Transport of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis through Saturated Aquifer Materials. Letters in Applied Microbiology. vol. 48 p 307-312

Interpretive Summary: Johne’s disease is a chronic enteric infection causing diarrhea and wasting in cattle, sheep, and other ruminants and is caused by the pathogenic microorganism Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (M. paratuberculosis). Because Johne’s disease is spread by the ingestion of M. paratuberculosis, a good understanding of this organism’s transport behavior is needed to minimize the transmission of this disease, yet surprisingly little is known about this organism’s ability to move through the environment. To address this shortcoming we measured important surface characteristics of this pathogen and measured its transport behavior through soil materials. We observed minimal transport of M. paratuberculosis through short laboratory columns suggesting that the potential for groundwater contamination by M. paratuberculosis is low; however, the organism may remain bound to the soil near the surface where it can be ingested by grazing animals or be released during run off events. This research provides important information for understanding the movement of M. paratuberculosis in the environment.

Technical Abstract: Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (M. paratuberculosis) is the causative agent of Johne’s disease, a chronic enteric infection causing diarrhea and wasting in cattle, sheep, and other ruminants. Because Johne’s disease is spread by the ingestion of M. paratuberculosis, a good understanding of this organism’s transport behavior is needed to minimize the transmission of this disease, yet surprisingly little is known about this organism’s ability to move through the environment. To begin to fill in this gap in our knowledge, we investigated the processes controlling the transport of M. paratuberculosis through aquifer materials. In particular, we measured important surface characteristics known to affect bacterial attachment to sediment surfaces, namely surface charge and hydrophobicity, and conducted transport experiments through clean and Fe-coated sands. We found that M. paratuberculosis has a strong negative charge and is highly hydrophobic. We observed minimal transport of M. paratuberculosis through short laboratory columns suggesting that the potential for groundwater contamination by M. paratuberculosis is low; however, the organism may remain bound to the soil near the surface where it can be ingested by grazing animals or be released during run off events. This research provides important information for understanding the movement of M. paratuberculosis in the environment.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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