Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Transport Behavior of E. coli Varies Depending on Manure Source

Scientists collaborate, measuring cell properties to decipher why some E. coli strains travel farther than others.

Escherichia coli is a commonly used indicator organism for detecting the presence of fecal contamination in drinking water supplies.

The importance of E. coli as an indicator organism has led to several studies looking at the transport behavior of this important microorganism in groundwater environments. Commonly only a single strain of E. coli is used in these studies, yet research has shown that a significant amount of genetic variability exists among strains of E. coli isolated from different host species and even from the same host species. If these genetic differences result in differences in cell properties that affect transport, different strains of E. coli may exhibit different rates of transport in the environment.

A scientist at the USDA-ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in collaboration with researchers at the University of California at Riverside, compared cell properties and transport behavior of 12 different E. coli isolates obtained from six different fecal sources. Results from this study were published in the March-April issue of Journal of Environmental Quality.

For all 12 E. coli isolates, the following cell properties known to affect bacterial transport in the environment were measured: surface charge, hydrophobicity, cell size and shape, and the composition of the extracellular polymeric substance. Transport behavior of the E. coli isolates was assessed by measuring the amount of cells that were able to pass through columns packed with clean aquifer sands. The measured breakthrough concentrations of the bacteria were then modeled so that transport parameters for each E. coli isolate could be estimated. Correlations between measured cell properties and transport parameters were investigated.

Although each E. coli isolate was subjected to the exact same storage and growth conditions, 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.

The Journal of Environmental Quality, is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.

The Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), founded in 1955, is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI. Members advance the discipline of crop science by acquiring and disseminating information about crop breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology, management, and quality; seed physiology, production, and technology; turfgrass science; forage and grazinglands; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical and enhanced plants.

CSSA fosters the transfer of knowledge through an array of programs and services, including publications, meetings, career services, and science policy initiatives.

Sara Uttech | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>