Submitted to: American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/12/2008
Publication Date: 6/2/2008
Citation: Bolster, C.H., Haznedaroglu, B.Z., Walker, S.L. 2008. Variability of Surface Characteristics and Transport Behavior of Escherichia coli Isolates from Different Host. American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Escherichia coli is a commonly used indicator organism for detecting the presence of fecal-borne pathogenic microorganisms in water supplies. The importance of E. coli as an indicator organism has led to numerous studies looking at surface characteristics and transport behavior of this important microorganism. In many of these studies, however, a single strain of E. coli was used even though research has shown a significant amount of genetic variability exists among different strains of E. coli. If this genetic diversity results in differences in surface characteristics that control transport, different strains of E. coli may exhibit different rates of transport in the environment. Therefore, the objective of our study was to investigate the variability in surface characteristics and transport behavior of E. coli isolates obtained from six different sources: wildlife, human, horse, beef cattle, dairy cattle, and poultry. Cell properties such as electrophoretic mobility, cell size and shape, hydrophobicity, charge density, and extracellular polymeric substance composition were measured for each isolate. In addition, transport behavior of each strain was assessed by measuring bacterial transport through 10-cm packed beds of clean quartz sand. Our results show large diversity in cell properties and transport behavior for the different E. coli isolates and that the best predictor of breakthrough was cell width and shape. This diversity in transport behavior must be taken into account when making assessments of the suitability of using E. coli as an indicator organism for specific pathogenic microorganisms in groundwater environments as well as modeling the movement of E. coli in the subsurface.