Identification of Bacterial Isolates Indigenous to South Texas Farming Environment

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Joanna Frontera, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, TX
Background:  For many years, researchers have found endogenous bacteria present in the blood of healthy individuals, known as bacterial endoparasites, which may or may not contribute to illnesses and are now considered a part of the human microbiome. Similarly, animals also harbor several bacterial endoparasites, the diversity of which in many species has not fully been studied. With our project, we aim to determine what, if any, endoparasitic bacteria exist in six-month-old steer’s blood isolated from Banquete, Texas, and compare that to those isolated from their environment to determine if the may or may not be anomalous. Methods:To do so, the following experiments were performed in the hope of characterizing six bacterial isolates – three from the steer blood, and three from the environment: a) Gram staining; b) plating on differential and selective media; c) motility assays; d) antibiotic sensitivity testing; e) temperature and oxygen preference assays; f) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of the 16s rRNA gene; and g) transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Through these experiments, we were able to determine the following: i) if the isolates contain peptidoglycan; ii) preference for various sugars; iii) whether or not growth was present on MacConkey and Mannitol-Salt media; iv) if anaerobic or aerobic environments were preferred; v) whether the bacteria were psychrophilic, mesophilic, or thermophilic; vi) the bacteria’s ability to move; and vii) determine the type of bacteria through 16s rRNA sequencing and subsequent analyses using bioinformatics. Results: Through all of the characterization and classification we were able to conclude that four of our six samples were normally either found within the environment or the steers blood. How two of our samples were not normally found in the environment or in the blood of our steers. Conclusion: Through the characterization and classification of our blood and environmental isolates, we have, perhaps, shed some light on the current microbiome and bacterial endoparasites present in steer in the South Texas area. Moreover, perhaps our findings regarding antibiotic sensitivity may offer some insight into effective treatments against possible bacterial infections, including the use of specific antibiotics.