Location: Agroecosystem Management ResearchTitle: Revisiting the oil fly bacteria from the la brea tarpits
|DILLARD, BRIAN - University Of Nebraska
|NICKERSON, KENNETH - University Of Nebraska
Submitted to: ASM Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Oil fly larvae mature in the toxic asphalt seeps of Rancho La Brea, Los Angeles, Calif. These larvae are able to pass high amounts of toxic asphalt through their digestive system with no discernible negative effects. While they do not derive nutrients from the asphalt, they can survive and grow in this harsh environment. Similar to all life, these oil fly larvae have bacteria living in their digestive system that are also in contact with the asphalt and thus should possess some form of tolerance to this toxic environment. Previously, we characterized the presence and antibiotic resistance of these bacteria [Kadavy et al. AEM 65:1477-1482 (1999) and 66:4615-4619 (2000)]. Of 14 bacteria derived from the oil fly digestive system Alcaligenes sp. OF2 was picked for whole genome sequencing. Based on analysis of the DNA, OF2 should be classified as a new species. The differences between the new bacteria OF2 and its closest neighbors such as Alcaligenes faecalis should give insights into how OF2 survives in such a toxic environment. Of particular interest are unique products for industry and ways that OF2 can resist antibiotics and other harsh chemicals.
Technical Abstract: Helaeomyia petrolei (oil fly) larvae mature in the asphaltene and polyaromatic hydrocarbon rich asphalt seeps of Rancho La Brea, Los Angeles, Calif. These larva are able to pass a high amount of the viscous asphalt through their digestive system with no discernible side effects. While they do not derive any nutrients from the asphalt, it is significant that they can survive in such a harsh environment. Similar to all life, these oil fly larvae have a complex gut flora that are also in contact with the asphalt and should posses some form of solvent tolerance. Of 14 isolates derived from this gut flora, Alcaligenes species. OF 2 was picked for whole genome sequencing, and based on phylogenetic analysis of 16s rRNA, RecA, and other targets. OF2 should be classified as a new species. The differences between OF2 and its closest neighbors such as Alcaligenes faecalis should give insights into how OF2 can survive in such an extreme environment. Of particular interest would be solvent tolerant enzymes that can be used in industry, and efflux pumps that could confer what we would think of as antibiotic resistance.