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Transport behavior of E. coli varies depending on manure source
Date:3/9/2009

ditions, the researchers observed a large range in measured cell properties, bacterial recovery, and fitted transport parameters for the different isolates. For example, cell hydrophobicity and surface charge were observed to vary by over an order of magnitude for the 12 different E. coli isolates. The total amount of bacteria passing through the sand columns ranged from less than 2% for one of the horse isolates to 95% for one of the beef cattle isolates and the fitted model parameters ranged by a factor of 50 for the different E. coli isolates. The only cell property observed to be statistically correlated with transport behavior of the E. coli isolates was cell width.

Carl Bolster, the lead scientist on the study, stated "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. In addition, our results suggest that the modeling of E. coli in the environment will likely require a distribution of bacterial attachment rates, even when modeling E. coli movement from a single fecal source."

Research is ongoing at USDA-ARS and UC Riverside to investigate the range in diversity in cell properties and transport behavior of E. coli under a variety of different experimental conditions; these include different growth conditions and types of sediment. Further research is needed to identify cell properties controlling E. coli transport in the environment.


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Contact: Sara Uttech
suttech@crops.org
608-268-4948
Crop Science Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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