Possible detection of pathogenic bacterial species inhabiting streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kwame Agyapong Brown (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Sean O'Connell

Abstract: Numerous pathogenic bacterial species have been found in many freshwater systems around the world. These pathogens affect the overall water quality of these systems and may cause diseases in both aquatic and terrestrial animals which may lead to loss of species diversity and abundance in their environments. This study sought to identify and document pathogenic bacterial species that may inhabit the streams that flow through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bacterial cells were collected by filtering water from four streams (Oconaluftee River, Kephart Prong, Little Pigeon River and Hickory King Branch Stream) through separate capsule filters. The cells were later back flushed from the filters and cultured on various selective and differential media. Ten isolates were selected based on phenotypic characteristics such as colony color and growth on specific media type, and sample origin. The nearly full 16S rDNA was sequenced for all ten isolates and analyzed to determine their identity.Out of the ten isolates, four isolates were from the phylum Firmicutes while the other six were in the phylum Proteobacteria. Phylogenetic analysis of these isolates showed eight out of the ten isolates were related to known opportunistic pathogens. The other two were related to a ubiquitous Bacillus species that is considered to be a probiotic. Although none of the isolates had a 100% match to a known obligate or opportunistic pathogen, many isolates matched > 97% to opportunistically pathogenic species. Follow up molecular and metabolic tests need to be employed to determine the pathogenicity of each isolate.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
bacterial pathogens, pathogens, Smoky Mountains National Park, streams
Bacterial pollution of water -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C. and Tenn.)
Bacterial genetics
Bacteria -- Phylogeny
Freshwater microbiology -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N.C. and Tenn.)

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