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Niche Preference of Escherichia coli in a Peri-Urban Pond Ecosystem

Department of Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0004, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Piotr Rzymski
Life 2021, 11(10), 1020;
Received: 19 August 2021 / Revised: 17 September 2021 / Accepted: 25 September 2021 / Published: 28 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology)
Escherichia coli comprises diverse strains with a large accessory genome, indicating functional diversity and the ability to adapt to a range of niches. Specific strains would display greatest fitness in niches matching their combination of phenotypic traits. Given this hypothesis, we sought to determine whether E. coli in a peri-urban pond and associated cattle pasture display niche preference. Samples were collected from water, sediment, aquatic plants, water snails associated with the pond, as well as bovine feces from cattle in an adjacent pasture. Isolates (120) were obtained after plating on Membrane Lactose Glucuronide Agar (MLGA). We used the uidA and mutS sequences for all isolates to determine phylogeny by maximum likelihood, and population structure through gene flow analysis. PCR was used to allocate isolates to phylogroups and to determine the presence of pathogenicity/virulence genes (stxI, stxII, eaeA, hlyA, ST, and LT). Antimicrobial resistance was determined using a disk diffusion assay for Tetracycline, Gentamicin, Ciprofloxacin, Meropenem, Ceftriaxone, and Azithromycin. Our results showed that isolates from water, sediment, and water plants were similar by phylogroup distribution, virulence gene distribution, and antibiotic resistance while both snail and feces populations were significantly different. Few of the feces isolates were significantly similar to aquatic ones, and most of the snail isolates were also different. Population structure analysis indicated three genetic backgrounds associated with bovine, snail, and aquatic environments. Collectively these data support niche preference of E. coli isolates occurring in this ecosystem. View Full-Text
Keywords: Escherichia coli; phylogroup; niche; water; snail Escherichia coli; phylogroup; niche; water; snail
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MDPI and ACS Style

NandaKafle, G.; Huegen, T.; Potgieter, S.C.; Steenkamp, E.; Venter, S.N.; Brözel, V.S. Niche Preference of Escherichia coli in a Peri-Urban Pond Ecosystem. Life 2021, 11, 1020.

AMA Style

NandaKafle G, Huegen T, Potgieter SC, Steenkamp E, Venter SN, Brözel VS. Niche Preference of Escherichia coli in a Peri-Urban Pond Ecosystem. Life. 2021; 11(10):1020.

Chicago/Turabian Style

NandaKafle, Gitanjali, Taylor Huegen, Sarah C. Potgieter, Emma Steenkamp, Stephanus N. Venter, and Volker S. Brözel 2021. "Niche Preference of Escherichia coli in a Peri-Urban Pond Ecosystem" Life 11, no. 10: 1020.

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