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Prevalence of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli stx subscript 1(B, stx subscript 2(B, eaeA, and rfbE Genes and Survival of E. coli O157:H7 in Manure from Organic and Low-Input Conventional Dairy Farms


Prevalence of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli stx subscript 1(B, stx subscript 2(B, eaeA, and rfbE Genes and Survival of E. coli O157:H7 in Manure from Organic and Low-Input Conventional Dairy Farms



Applied and environmental microbiology AEM1 73(7): 2180-2190



Manure samples were collected from 16 organic (ORG) and 9 low-input conventional (LIC) Dutch dairy farms during August and September 2004 to determine the prevalence of the STEC virulence genes stx subscript 1(B (encoding Shiga toxin 1), stx subscript 2(B (encoding Shiga toxin 2), and eaeA (encoding intimin), as well as the rfbE gene, which is specific for Escherichia coli O157. The rfbE gene was present at 52% of the farms. The prevalence of rfbE was higher at ORG farms (61%) than at LIC farms (36%), but this was not significant. Relatively more LIC farms were positive for all Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) virulence genes eaeA, stx subscript 1(B, and stx subscript 2(B, which form a potentially highly virulent combination. Species richness of Enterobacteriaceae, as determined by DGGE, was significantly lower in manure positive for rfbE. Survival of a green fluorescent protein-expressing E. coli O157:H7 strain was studied in the manure from all farms from which samples were obtained and was modeled by a biphasic decline model. The time needed to reach the detection limit was predominantly determined by the level of native coliforms and the pH (both negative relationships). Initial decline was faster for ORG manure but leveled off earlier, resulting in longer survival than in LIC manure. Although the nonlinear decline curve could theoretically be explained as the cumulative distribution of an underlying distribution of decline kinetics, it is proposed that the observed nonlinear biphasic pattern of the survival curve is the result of changing nutrient status of the manure over time (and thereby changing competition pressure), instead of the presence of subpopulations differing in the level of resistance.

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