Mantilla Calderon, David; Hong, Pei-Ying(Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2017-04-15)[Article]
The presence of emerging biological pollutants in treated wastewater effluents has gained attention due to increased interest in water reuse. To evaluate the effectiveness of the removal of such contaminants by the conventional wastewater treatment process, the fate and decay kinetics of NDM-1-positive Escherichia coli strain PI7 and its plasmid-encoded antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) were assessed in microcosms of anaerobic and aerobic sludge. Results showed that E. coli PI7 decayed at a significantly slower rate under anaerobic conditions. Approximate half-lives were 32.4 ± 1.4 h and 5.9 ± 0.9 h in the anaerobic and aerobic microcosms, respectively. In the aerobic microcosms, after 72 h of operation, E. coli PI7 remained detectable but no further decay was observed. Instead, 1 in every 10000 E. coli cells was identified to be recalcitrant to decay and persist indefinitely in the sludge. ARGs associated with the E. coli PI7 were detected to have transferred to other native microorganisms in the sludge, or are released to the liquid fraction upon host decay. Extracellular DNA quickly degraded in the liquid fraction of the aerobic sludge. In contrast, no DNA decay was detected in the anaerobic sludge water matrix throughout the 24 h sampling period. This study suggests an increased likelihood of environmental dispersion of ARGs associated with anaerobically treated wastewater effluents and highlights the potential importance of persister cells in the dissemination of E. coli in the environment during reuse events of treated wastewater.IMPORTANCE This study examines the decay kinetics of a pathogenic and antibiotic resistant strain of Escherichia coli in microcosms simulating biological treatment units of aerobic and anaerobic sludge. The results of this study points at a significantly prolonged persistence of the E. coli and the associated antibiotic resistance gene in the anaerobic sludge. However, horizontal transfer of the plasmid encoding the antibiotic resistance gene were detected in the aerobic sludge by cultivation method. Detection of a subpopulation of persister E. coli were also detected in the aerobic sludge. The findings of this study suggest potential areas of concern arising from pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant E. coli during both anaerobic and aerobic sludge treatment processes.
Zhang, Ya; Hong, Pei-Ying; LeChevallier, Mark W.; Liu, Wen-Tso(Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2015-06-26)[Article]
The current definition of coliform bacteria is method-dependent, and when different culture-based methods are used, discrepancies in results can occur and affect the accuracy in identifying true coliforms. This study used an alternative approach to identify true coliforms by combing the phenotypic traits of the coliform isolates and the phylogenetic affiliation of 16S rRNA gene sequences together with the use of lacZ and uidA genes. A collection of 1404 isolates from 12 US Environmental Protection Agency approved coliform-testing methods were characterized based on their phylogenetic affiliations and responses to their original isolation medium and Lauryl Tryptose broth, m-Endo and MI agar media. Isolates were phylogenetically classified into 32 true coliform or targeted Enterobacteriaceae (TE) groups, and 14 non-coliform or non-targeted Enterbacteriaceae (NTE) groups. It was statistically shown that detecting true-positive (TP) events is more challenging than detecting true-negative (TN) events. Furthermore, most false-negative (FN) events were associated with four TE groups (i.e., Serratia group I, Providencia, Proteus, and Morganella), and most false-positive (FP) events with two NTE groups, Aeromonas and Plesiomonas. In Escherichia coli testing, 18 out of 145 E. coli isolates identified by those enzymatic methods were validated as FNs. The reasons behind the FP and FN reactions could be explained through the analysis of the lacZ and uidA gene. Overall, combining the analyses of 16S rRNA, lacZ and uidA genes with the growth responses of TE and NTE on culture-based media is an effective way to evaluate the performance of coliform detection methods.
Hong, Pei-Ying; Iakiviak, M.; Dodd, D.; Zhang, M.; Mackie, R. I.; Cann, I.(Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2014-01-24)[Article]
Xylan is an abundant plant cell wall polysaccharide and is a dominant component of dietary fiber. Bacteria in the distal human gastrointestinal tract produce xylanase enzymes to initiate the degradation of this complex heteropolymer. These xylanases typically derive from glycoside hydrolase (GH) families 10 and 11; however, analysis of the genome sequence of the xylan-degrading human gut bacterium Bacteroides intestinalis DSM 17393 revealed the presence of two putative GH8 xylanases. In the current study, we demonstrate that the two genes encode enzymes that differ in activity. The xyn8A gene encodes an endoxylanase (Xyn8A), and rex8A encodes a reducing-end xylose-releasing exo-oligoxylanase (Rex8A). Xyn8A hydrolyzed both xylopentaose (X5) and xylohexaose (X6) to a mixture of xylobiose (X2) and xylotriose (X3), while Rex8A hydrolyzed X3 through X6 to a mixture of xylose (X1) and X2. Moreover, rex8A is located downstream of a GH3 gene (xyl3A) that was demonstrated to exhibit β-xylosidase activity and would be able to further hydrolyze X2 to X1. Mutational analyses of putative active site residues of both Xyn8A and Rex8A confirm their importance in catalysis by these enzymes. Recent genome sequences of gut bacteria reveal an increase in GH8 Rex enzymes, especially among the Bacteroidetes, indicating that these genes contribute to xylan utilization in the human gut.
Hong, Pei-Ying; Yannarell, A. C.; Dai, Q.; Ekizoglu, M.; Mackie, R. I.(Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2013-02-08)[Article]
This study aimed to determine if biotic contaminants originating from pig production farms are disseminated into soil and groundwater microbial communities. A spatial and temporal sampling of soil and groundwater in proximity to pig production farms was conducted, and quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) was utilized to determine the abundances of tetracycline resistance genes (i.e., tetQ and tetZ) and integrase genes (i.e., intI1 and intI2). We observed that the abundances of tetZ, tetQ, intI1, and intI2 in the soils increased at least 6-fold after manure application, and their abundances remained elevated above the background for up to 16 months. Q-PCR further determined total abundances of up to 5.88 × 109 copies/ng DNA for tetZ, tetQ, intI1, and intI2 in some of the groundwater wells that were situated next to the manure lagoon and in the facility well used to supply water for one of the farms. We further utilized 16S rRNA-based pyrosequencing to assess the microbial communities, and our comparative analyses suggest that most of the soil samples collected before and after manure application did not change significantly, sharing a high Bray-Curtis similarity of 78.5%. In contrast, an increase in Bacteroidetes and sulfur-oxidizing bacterial populations was observed in the groundwaters collected from lagoon-associated groundwater wells. Genera associated with opportunistic human and animal pathogens, such as Acinetobacter, Arcobacter, Yersinia, and Coxiella, were detected in some of the manure-treated soils and affected groundwater wells. Feces-associated bacteria such as Streptococcus, Erysipelothrix, and Bacteroides were detected in the manure, soil, and groundwater ecosystems, suggesting a perturbation of the soil and groundwater environments by invader species from pig production activities.
Li, Dong; Sharp, J. O.; Saikaly, Pascal; Ali, Shahjahan; Alidina, Mazahirali; Alarawi, M. S.; Keller, S.; Hoppe-Jones, C.; Drewes, Jorg(Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2012-07-13)[Article]
This study explores microbial community structure in managed aquifer recharge (MAR) systems across both laboratory and field scales. Two field sites, the Taif River (Taif, Saudi Arabia) and South Platte River (Colorado), were selected as geographically distinct MAR systems. Samples derived from unsaturated riverbed, saturated-shallow-infiltration (depth, 1 to 2 cm), and intermediate-infiltration (depth, 10 to 50 cm) zones were collected. Complementary laboratory-scale sediment columns representing low (0.6 mg/liter) and moderate (5 mg/liter) dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were used to further query the influence of DOC and depth on microbial assemblages. Microbial density was positively correlated with the DOC concentration, while diversity was negatively correlated at both the laboratory and field scales. Microbial communities derived from analogous sampling zones in each river were not phylogenetically significantly different on phylum, class, genus, and species levels, as determined by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing, suggesting that geography and season exerted less sway than aqueous geochemical properties. When field-scale communities derived from the Taif and South Platte River sediments were grouped together, principal coordinate analysis revealed distinct clusters with regard to the three sample zones (unsaturated, shallow, and intermediate saturated) and, further, with respect to DOC concentration. An analogous trend as a function of depth and corresponding DOC loss was observed in column studies. Canonical correspondence analysis suggests that microbial classes Betaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria are positively correlated with DOC concentration. Our combined analyses at both the laboratory and field scales suggest that DOC may exert a strong influence on microbial community composition and diversity in MAR saturated zones.
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