Department Environmental Microbiology

Growth Kinetics and Gene Transfer of Enteric and Environmental E. coli in Domestic Settings

The Global Enteric Multicenter Study, a global study of the etiological agents responsible for moderate-to-severe diarrhea in low income countries, reported in 2013 that strains of pathogenic E. coli contribute substantially to global diarrheal disease burden.  Previous research from the Human Pathogens Research Group has highlighted the ubiquity of high concentrations of E. coli, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, in soils and on surfaces in low income countries.  Despite the knowledge that pathogenic E. coli is a driver of moderate-to-severe diarrhea and that it is ubiquitous in domestic environments, little is known about the source, fate, and transport of E. coli in these settings. 

In this study, we are: investigating genotypic and phenotypic properties of E. coli isolated from environmental reservoirs to identify factors that influence persistence and/or growth, examining whether E. coli are autochonous or fecal source, and investigating the role of the in situ community in the continued transmission of pathogenic E. coli.