Event Title

Phylo-Group Diversity in Escherichia coli Collected from Oceanic Beaches in South Carolina

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Victoria Frost and Dr. Matthew Heard

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Biology

Location

DiGorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Start Date

22-4-2016 3:15 PM

End Date

22-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common bacterial species that can persist in many environments found around the world. One environment where it can be found is an oceanic beach, where it can serve as an indicator of both fecal and microbial pollution. While the majority of strains of E. coli are non-pathogenic to humans, some phylo-groups are associated with virulent strains and could cause disease. Therefore, it is of critical concern that we determine where this E. coli is coming from and whether it is potentially harmful to human health and well-being. In this study, we attempted to answer this question by using a newly developed molecular technique, which allows us to identify which phylo-groups environmental isolates of E. coli belong to. Classification into phylo-groups can help infer the source of the pollution. For this analysis, we collected sand samples from Folly Beach, SC. In our analysis, we identified environmental isolates of E. coli that differ from the lab strain and belong to two distinct phylo-groups including phylo-group A, which is likely from human fecal contamination and phylo-group B1, which is likely from a domesticated and/or wild animal source. A similar technique was used for virulence factors; a band was identified that may correspond to a virulence factor, but further analysis is needed. Collectively, our findings indicate that multiple types of E. coli are able to persist in these environments and that more research is needed to determine whether these strains are of public health concern.

Previously Presented/Performed?

SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2015
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Poster Session, Winthrop University, September 2015
Water in the World Conference, Winthrop University, November 2015
National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), Asheville, North Carolina, April 2016

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Apr 22nd, 3:15 PM Apr 22nd, 3:30 PM

Phylo-Group Diversity in Escherichia coli Collected from Oceanic Beaches in South Carolina

DiGorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a common bacterial species that can persist in many environments found around the world. One environment where it can be found is an oceanic beach, where it can serve as an indicator of both fecal and microbial pollution. While the majority of strains of E. coli are non-pathogenic to humans, some phylo-groups are associated with virulent strains and could cause disease. Therefore, it is of critical concern that we determine where this E. coli is coming from and whether it is potentially harmful to human health and well-being. In this study, we attempted to answer this question by using a newly developed molecular technique, which allows us to identify which phylo-groups environmental isolates of E. coli belong to. Classification into phylo-groups can help infer the source of the pollution. For this analysis, we collected sand samples from Folly Beach, SC. In our analysis, we identified environmental isolates of E. coli that differ from the lab strain and belong to two distinct phylo-groups including phylo-group A, which is likely from human fecal contamination and phylo-group B1, which is likely from a domesticated and/or wild animal source. A similar technique was used for virulence factors; a band was identified that may correspond to a virulence factor, but further analysis is needed. Collectively, our findings indicate that multiple types of E. coli are able to persist in these environments and that more research is needed to determine whether these strains are of public health concern.