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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Lisa M Durso

Research Microbiologist


B.S.  Biology, Education, Illinois State University

M.S.  Botany/Mycology, Miami University, Oxford Ohio

Ph.D. Food Safety Microbiology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln


Research Interests:

I am interested in solving applied problems related to how agriculture impacts environmental and human health.  My research focuses on using animal manure as a fertilizer while minimizing adverse environmental and human health impacts. 


Major Project Activities:

My current projects address issues associated with pathogens and antibiotic resistance from agricultural settings.  I characterize how bacteria and genes from animal manures travel through agricultural production systems, soil, and water.  My main projects involve studying the fate and transport of pathogens, fecal indicator organisms, antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes, in runoff from feedlots and runoff from manure-amended fields.  I use the tools of microbial ecology to profile microbial communities, and determine how "problem" microbes or "problem" genes interact with all of the naturally occurring microflora in agriculturally impacted environments. 


Agricultural Antibiotic Resistance (AgAR)

One main focus of my projects is antibiotic resistance.  Antibiotic resistance (AR) is one of the greatest health challenges of our era.  The severity of the problem has rightfully expanded the need for research and mitigation beyond health care settings to include diverse potential sources of resistance, including food and agricultural production operations.  Concerns over agricultural AR (agAR) are not limited to known foodborne pathogens.  There is also great concern that harmless microbes can develop resistance that is later transferred into a pathogen. My research therefore looks beyond characterizing AR profiles of individual isolates to include the AR ecology of entire agricultural bacterial communities.  A very important part of my work involves determining naturally occurring and baseline levels of AR, and identifying AR that can be impacted by agricultural best management practices (  The goal of my agAR research is to provide information needed by the scientific community as it transitions from a focus on defining and drawing attention to the problem, to a focus on finding and implementing applied solutions that reduce transmission of agAR, and improve human clinical outcomes.

Illustration 1


Foodborne Pathogens

The second major project area that I work in relates to foodborne pathogens that come from farm animals (zoonotic foodborne pathogens).  Most of these pathogens live in two main habitats.  They usually grow in the lower intestines of warm blooded animals (including humans and farm animals).  Once they are excreted from the animal via feces, they must survive or grow in water, soil, and sediment until they find a new host, or they die.  I collect information on how well the pathogens survive in the environment, and how different agronomic practices like buffer strips or manure incorporation influence their survival ( I am also collecting information on how long specific serotypes of Shiga toxigenic E. coli (STEC) survive in water and soil.  My lab has expertise in finding and isolating STEC from environmental sources, and I work with human public-health labs to help them isolate STEC in outbreaks associated with agricultural events such as fairs and ag-expos. 

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Durso, L.M. 2014.  Foods and Antibiotic Resistance: Not all resistance is created equal.  Food Safety Magazine eDigest.


Mantz, A.R., D.N. Miller, J.J. Spiehs, B.L. Woodbury, L.M. Durso. 2013. Persistence of erythromycin resistance gene erm(B) in cattle feedlot pens over time.  Agric Food Anal Bacteriol.


Durso, LM.  2013. Primary isolation of Shiga toxigenic Escherichia coli from environmental sources. J Environ. Qual. 42:1295-1307. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2013.02.0035


Durso, L.M.  2013.  A closer look at reducing antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use in food animals.  Food Safety Magazine eDigest November 19, 2013.


Durso, L.M., J. Wells, K.M.Seok. 2013.  Diversity of microbiomes in beef cattle.  In: Nelson K. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Metagenomics: SpringerReference ( Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2013. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_333718 2013-03-27 03:18:02 UTC


Durso L. 2013. Mining Metagenomic Datasets for Antibiotic Resistance Genes. In: Nelson K. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Metagenomics: SpringerReference ( Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 0. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_332403 2013-01-23 22:12:18 UTC


L.M. Durso, D.N. Miller, and B.J. Wienhold.  2012.  Distribution and quantification of antibiotic resistant genes and bacteria across agricultural and non-agricultural metagenomes.  PLOS ONE 7:e48325. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048325


P.R. Broadway, T.R. Callaway, J.A. Carroll, J.R. Donaldson, R.J. Rathmann, B.J. Johnson, J.T. Cribbs, L.M. Durso, D.J. Nisbet, and T.B. Schmidt.  2012.  Evaluation of the ruminal bacterial diversity of cattle fed diets containing citrus pulp pellets. Agric. Food Anal. Bacteriol.  2(4):297-308.


C. Thayer, J.E. Gilley, L.M. Durso, D.B. Marx. 2012. Wheat strip effects on nutrient loads following manure application. Trans. ASABE. 55:439-449.


Bengtsson, J, M. Hartmann, M. Unterseher, P. Vaishampayan, K. Abarenkov, L.M. Durso, K.M. Eriksson, R.H. Nilsson.  2012. Megraft: A software package to graft ribosomal small subunit (16S/18S) fragments onto full-length sequences for accurate species richness and sequencing depth analysis in pyrosequencing-length metagenomes.  Res Microbiol. 163:407-412. DOI: 10.1016/j.resmic.2012.07.001


Durso, L.M., J.E. Wells, G.P. Harhay, W.C. Rice, L.A. Kuehn, J.L. Bono, S.D. Shackelford, T.L. Wheeler, and T.P.L. Smith.  2012. Comparison of bacterial communities in feces of beef cattle fed diets containing corn and wet distillers grain with solubles. Letters in Applied Micro 55:109-114.


C. Thayer, J.E. Gilley, L.M. Durso, and D.B. Marx. 2012. Runoff nutrient loads as affected by residue cover, manure application rate, and flow rate. Trans. ASABE. 55(1):249-258.


Comstock, N., M. Towle, A. Warner, S. Reynolds, L. Durso, C. Campbell, M. Kiefer.  2012. Epidemiologic and occupational investigation of an Escherichia coli O111 Outbreak associated with a correctional facility dairy - Colorado, 2010.  Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rpt.  61(9):149-152.


Durso, L.M., J.E. Gilley, D.B. Marx, and B. Woodbury.  2011.  Effects of animal diet, manure application rate, and tillage on transport of microorganisms from manure-amended fields.  Appl Environ Microbiol.  77:6715-6717.


Gilley, J.E., L.M. Durso, R.A. Eigenberg, D.B. Marx, and B.L. Woodbury. 2011.   Narrow grass hedge control of nutrient transport following variable manure application.  Trans. of the ASABE.  54:847-855.


Durso, L.M., G.P. Harhay, J.L. Bono, and T.P.L. Smith.  2011.  Virulence-associated and antibiotic resistance genes of microbial populations in cattle feces analyzed using a metagenomic approach.  J. Microbiol. Methods  84:278-282.


Durso, L.M., G.P. Harhay, T.P.L. Smith, J.L. Bono, T.Z. DeSantis, and M.L. Clawson.  2011.  Bacterial community analysis of beef feedlots reveals that pen surface is distinct from feces. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, 8:647-649.


Gilley, J.E., L.M. Durso, R.A. Eigenberg, D.B. Marx, and B.L. Woodbury. 2010. Nutrient transport in runoff as affected by distillers grain diet and manure application rate. 2010.  Trans. of the ASABE, 53:1895-1902.


Durso, L. M., H. Maguire, A. Cronquist, and J. L. Bono.  Outbreak investigation: STEC O157.   Med Lab Obs 42:42-43, 2010.


Durso, L. M., G. P. Harhay, T. P. L. Smith, J. L. Bono, T. Z. DeSantis, J. E. Keen, W. W. Laegreid, and M. L. Clawson.  Animal-to-animal variation in fecal microbial diversity among beef cattle.   2010.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76:4858-4862.


Keen, J. E., W. W. Laegreid, C. G. Chitko-McKown, L. M. Durso and J. L. Bono.  Distribution of shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 in the gastrointestinal tract of naturally O157-shedding cattle at Necropsy.  2010.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76:5278-5281.


Clawson, M. L., J. E. Keen, T. P. L. Smith, L. M. Durso, T. G. McDaneld, R. E. Mandrell, M. A. Davis, and J. L. Bono.  2009.  Phylogenetic classification of Escherichia coli O157:H7 isolates of human and bovine origin using a novel set of nucleotide polymorphisms.  Genome Biol.  I0:R56.


Goode, B, C. O'Reilly, J. Dunn, K. Fullerton, S. Smith, G. Ghneim, J. Keen, L. Durso, M. Davies, and S. Montgomery.  2009.  Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections after Petting Zoo Visits, North Carolina State Fair, October - November 2004.  Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 163(1):42-48.


Bono, J. L., J. E. Keen, M. L. Clawson, L. M. Durso, M. P. Heaton, and W. W. Laegreid.  2007.  Association of Escherichia coli O157:H7 tir polymorphisms with human infection.  BMC Infect. Dis. 7:98.  (


Durso, L. M., J. L. Bono, and J. E. Keen.  2007.  Molecular serotyping of

Escherichia coli O111:H8.  J. Microbiol. Method 69:381-383.


Durso, L. D. and J. E. Keen. 2007.   Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 and non-Shiga-toxigenic E. coli O157 respond differently to culture and isolation from naturally contaminated bovine feces.  J. Appl. Microbiol. 103:2457-2464.


Keen, J. E., L. M. Durso, and T. P. Meehan.  2007.  Isolation of Salmonella enterica and Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 from feces of animals in public contact areas of United States zoological parks.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73(1):362-365.


Keen, J. E., Wittum, T. E., Dunn, J. R., Bono, J. L. and Durso, L. M. Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 in agricultural fair livestock, United States. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 12(5):780-786. 2006.


Kimura, A. C., Mead, P., Walsh, B., Alfano, E., Kolavic-Grey, S., Durso, L., Humphrey, C., Monroe, S. S., Visvesvera, G., Puhr, N., Shieh, W.-J., Eberhard, M., Hoekstra, R. M. and Mintz, E. A large outbreak of brainerd diarrhea associated with a restaurant in the Red River Valley, Texas. Clin. Infect. Dis. 43:55-61. 2006. doi: 10.1086/504805


Durso, L. M., Bono, J. L. and Keen, J. E. Molecular serotyping of Escherichia coli O26:H11. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71(8):4941-4944. 2005.


Durso, L. M., Reynolds, K., Bauer, N. Jr. and Keen, J. E. Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli O157 infections among livestock exhibitors and visitors at a Texas county fair. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Dis. 5(2):193-201. 2005.


Heaton, M. P., Keen, J. E., Clawson, M. L., Harhay, G. P., Bauer, N., Schultz, C., Green, B. T., Durso, L., Chitko-McKown, C. G. and Laegreid, W. W. Use of bovine single nucleotide polymorphism markers to verify sample tracking in beef processing. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 226(8):1311-1314. 2005.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Submitted by: Davies, M., Engel, J., Griffin, D., Ginzl, D., Hopkins, R., Blackmore, C., Lawaczec,E., Nathan, L., Levy, C., Briggs, G., Kioski, C., Kreis, S., Keen,J., Durso, L., Schulte, J., Fullerton, K., Long, C., Smith, S., Barton, C., Gleit, C., Joyner, M., Montgomery,S., Braden, C., Goode, B., Chertow,D., O'Reilly, C., Gupta, S. and Dunn,J. 2005. Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 associated with petting zoos - North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona, 2004 and 2005. Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rpt. 54(50):1277-1280.


Durso L. M., Smith, D. and Hutkins, R. W. Measurements of fitness and competition in commensal Escherichia coli and E. coli O157:H7 strains. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 70(11):6466-6472. 2004. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.70.11.6466-6472.2004

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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