Submitted to: International Conference on Microbial Transport and Survival in Porous Media
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/17/2009
Publication Date: 5/18/2009
Citation: Bolster, C.H., Cook, K.L. 2009. The Role of Inter-strain Variability on the Sorption Behavior of Escherichia coli to Aquifer Sediments. International Conference on Microbial Transport and Survival in Porous Media.
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 the sorption and transport behavior of this microorganism. In many of these studies, however, only 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 cell properties that affect sorption, different strains of E. coli may exhibit different rates of transport through the environment. Therefore, in this study we set out to investigate whether different strains of E. coli obtained from the same manure source exhibit the same sorption behavior to sediments. Over 700 different E. coli isolates were obtained by plating aqueous swine lagoon effluent samples on mTEC agar. E. coli subspecies diversity was then assessed using BOX PCR. Sorption studies were then performed with eight different genotypes using aquifer sediments. Results show a large diversity in sorption behavior exists for the different E. coli strains. This diversity in sorption behavior must be taken into account when making assessments of the suitability of using E. coli as an indicator organism for specific pathogenic microorganisms as well as modeling the movement of E. coli through the environment.