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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Bowling Green, Kentucky » Food Animal Environmental Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313599

Research Project: Efficient Management and Use of Animal Manure to Protect Human Health and Environmental Quality

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

Title: Escherichia coli strain diversity: Selecting isolates for use as pathogen surrogates

Author
item Cook, Kimberly - Kim
item Givan, Ethan - Western Kentucky University
item Taylor, Ritchie - Western Kentucky University

Submitted to: Congress of European Microbiology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2015
Publication Date: 6/7/2015
Citation: Cook, K.L., Givan, E., Taylor, R. 2015. Escherichia coli strain diversity: Selecting isolates for use as pathogen surrogates. Federation of European Microbiological Societies, 6th Congress of European Microbiology. June 7-11, 2015. Maastricht, Netherlands.

Interpretive Summary: Escherichia coli (E. coli) is commonly used as a surrogate for pathogens in research to identify sources of agricultural contamination and to characterize how pathogens persist on plant surfaces. However, E. coli strains are highly diverse, exhibiting differences in physical, chemical and biological properties which contribute to fitness in secondary habitats. In this research, the ability of E. coli were isolated from poultry, swine, dairy and stream water sources. Isolates ability to adhere to plant and soil surfaces was evaluated. Many of the enviornmental isolates of E. coli behaved more similarly to the pathogen Salmonella than did quality control strains of E. coli. Results suggest that strain selection is an important consideration when using E. coli as a surrogate for pathogens.

Technical Abstract: Background Escherichia coli (E. coli) is commonly used as a surrogate for pathogens in research to identify sources of agricultural contamination and to characterize how pathogens persist on plant surfaces. However, E. coli strains are highly diverse, exhibiting differences in physical, chemical and biological properties which contribute to fitness in secondary habitats. Objectives An important step in selecting E. coli for use as pathogen surrogates is to identify strains with characteristics (including adhesion, motility and biofilm formation) that contribute to their occurrence and survival in a manner similar to that of pathogens. Methods To this end, strain-level differences in genotype (adhesions (iha, agn43, eaeA and fimH, kpsMTII) and siderophores (iroNE.coli, chuA)) and phenotype (biofilm formation, curli expression, and growth rate) were evaluated for isolates from livestock (swine, poultry, dairy) and water sources. Selected E.coli isolates (n=18 of 1,300), a common E. coli control strain (ATCC 25922), and Salmonella (ATCC 13311) were used in soil studies to evaluate adhesion to plastic, sandy loam or clay soils. Conclusions Average adhesion of environmental isolates to plastic was two-fold higher than that of the control strain. Salmonella and one of the environmental isolates had adhesion rates seven-fold higher than the control strain. That isolate had extremely high adhesion to clay (91.3 ± 2.7%) and sandy loam (91.7 ± 0.1%) soils, but had none of the genes commonly associated with adherence or biofilm formation. These results suggest that E. coli strain choice should be an important consideration in its use as a pathogen surrogate