Author(s): Bae HS, Hou A, Bae HS, Hou A
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Abstract Little is known about the impacts of fecal polluted urban runoff inputs on the structure of enterococci communities in estuarine waters. This study employed a 23S rRNA gene-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay with newly designed genus-specific primers, Ent127F-Ent907R, to determine the possible impacts of Hurricane Katrina floodwaters via the 17th Street Canal discharge on the community structure of enterococci in Lake Pontchartrain. A total of 94 phylotypes were identified through the restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) screening of 494 clones while only 8 phylotypes occurred among 88 cultivated isolates. Sequence analyses of representative phylotypes and their temporal and spatial distribution in the lake and the canal indicated the Katrina floodwater input introduced a large portion of Enterococcus flavescens, Enterococcus casseliflavus, and Enterococcus dispar into the lake; typical fecal groups Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus hirae, and Enterococcus mundtii were detected primarily in the floodwater-impacted waters. This study provides a global picture of enterococci in estuarine waters impacted by Hurricane Katrina-derived urban runoff. It also demonstrates the culture-independent PCR approach using 23S rRNA gene as a molecular marker could be a good alternative in ecological studies of enterococci in natural environments to overcome the limitation of conventional cultivation methods.
This article was published in Microb Ecol
and referenced in Medical Safety & Global Health