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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Produce Safety and Microbiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370108

Research Project: Molecular Identification and Characterization of Bacterial and Viral Pathogens Associated with Foods

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Search for Campylobacter reveals high prevalence and pronounced genetic diversity of Arcobacter butzleri in floodwater samples associated with Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, USA

Author
item NIEDERMEYER, JEFFREY - North Carolina State University
item Miller, William - Bill
item Yee, Emma
item HARRIS, ANGELA - North Carolina State University
item EMANUEL, RYAN - North Carolina State University
item JASS, THEO - North Carolina State University
item NELSON, NATALIE - North Carolina State University
item KATHARIOU, SOPHIA - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2020
Publication Date: 10/1/2020
Citation: Niedermeyer, J., Miller, W.G., Yee, E., Harris, A., Emanuel, R., Jass, T., Nelson, N., Kathariou, S. 2020. Search for Campylobacter reveals high prevalence and pronounced genetic diversity of Arcobacter butzleri in floodwater samples associated with Hurricane Florence, North Carolina, USA. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 20:e01118-20.

Interpretive Summary: The human pathogens Campylobacter and Arcobacter butzleri are commonly isolated from food animals and agricultural regions, with A. butzleri recovered often from fresh water samples. Hurricane Florence caused extreme flooding in eastern North Carolina, a region dense in swine and poultry (especially turkeys) production, during September 2018. In this study, water samples were collected from streams, floodplains and other water sources at two different times post-hurricane and selectively enriched for Campylobacter. Only one sample was positive for Campylobacter. However, the methods used to isolate Campylobacter readily yielded Arcobacter from 73% of the floodwater samples. Characterization of 112 Arcobacter isolates indicated that all were A. butzleri with most of them novel types. Two major groups were identified, one primarily associated with poultry, swine and seafood isolates, while the other associated with human and ruminant (for example, cattle) isolates. These data suggest that A. butzleri exhibits high prevalence and diversity in post-hurricane floodwaters from a farm-dense region, while Campylobacter was uncommon. Further studies of pre-and post-hurricane samples will be needed to examine the impact of severe storms on the prevalence and types of A. butzleri in this and other regions dense in food animal production.

Technical Abstract: In September 2018, Hurricane Florence caused extreme flooding in eastern North Carolina, USA, a region dense in concentrated production of swine and poultry, especially turkeys. In this study, water samples (n=88) were collected from streams, floodplains and ephemeral water bodies at two different times post-hurricane and selectively enriched for Campylobacter using Bolton broth enrichment and isolation on mCCDA microaerobically at 42oC. Only one sample was positive for Campylobacter. However, the methods employed to isolate Campylobacter readily yielded Arcobacter from 73% of the floodwater samples. The Arcobacter isolates failed to grow on Mueller-Hinton agar at 25, 30, 37 or 42oC microaerobically or aerobically. However, they could be readily sub-cultured on mCCDA at 42oC microaerobically and on brain heart infusion microaerobically at 42oC and aerobically at 30 oC. Multilocus sequence typing of 112 Arcobacter isolates indicated that all were A. butzleri. The majority (91%) of the isolates exhibited novel sequence types (STs), resulting in the identification of 67 novel STs. Two major clades were identified, one clustering primarily with poultry, swine and seafood isolates, while the other with human and ruminant isolates. Most previously-described STs were shared with isolates from poultry, swine, and ruminants. The data suggest that A. butzleri exhibits high prevalence and diversity in post-hurricane floodwaters from a farm-dense region, while Campylobacter was uncommon. Further studies of pre-and post-hurricane samples will be needed to examine the impact of severe storms on the prevalence and genotypes of A. butzleri in this and other regions dense in food animal production.