Apr 18, 2020

Detecting genes associated with pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance in three New Zealand waterways.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
R. G. DeathR. Cosgrove


BACKGROUND: More than 100 zoonoses may be transmitted via water, among them enteric diseases are leading causes of human mortality. Traditional monitoring for zoonoses relies on culturing of indicator species, but environmental DNA (eDNA) provides an alternative, allowing direct testing for genetic loci associated with pathogenicity and/or antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate whether genes associated with Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) and antimicrobial resistance can be monitored in waterways using culture-free sampling of eDNA combined with PCR-based testing. METHODS: Water and sediment samples were collected from two sites on each of three rivers in Canterbury, New Zealand; sample sites were situated above and below reaches bordered by intensive dairy farming. Samples from each site were tested for genes typically associated with Escherichia coli, STEC serogroups O26 and O157, human pathogenic strains of STEC, and resistance to a broad range of antibiotics. RESULTS: Both culturing and genetic testing confirmed the presence of E. coli in all samples. In contrast, presence of genes associated with STEC and antibiotic resistance varied by season and substrate. The O157 serogroup ...Continue Reading

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