Persistence of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki in Urban Environments following Spraying.
ABSTRACT: Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki is applied extensively in North America to control the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. Since B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki shares many physical and biological properties with Bacillus anthracis, it is a reasonable surrogate for biodefense studies. A key question in biodefense is how long a biothreat agent will persist in the environment. There is some information in the literature on the persistence of Bacillus anthracis in laboratories and historical testing areas and for Bacillus thuringiensis in agricultural settings, but there is no information on the persistence of Bacillus spp. in the type of environment that would be encountered in a city or on a military installation. Since it is not feasible to release B. anthracis in a developed area, the controlled release of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki for pest control was used to gain insight into the potential persistence of Bacillus spp. in outdoor urban environments. Persistence was evaluated in two locations: Fairfax County, VA, and Seattle, WA. Environmental samples were collected from multiple matrices and evaluated for the presence of viable B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki at times ranging from less than 1 day to 4 years after spraying. Real-time PCR and culture were used for analysis. B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki was found to persist in urban environments for at least 4 years. It was most frequently detected in soils and less frequently detected in wipes, grass, foliage, and water. The collective results indicate that certain species of Bacillus may persist for years following their dispersal in urban environments.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis spacer regions between the 16S and 23S rRNAs were amplified with conserved primers, designated 19-mer and 23-mer primers. A spacer region of 144 bp was determined for all of 6 B. thuringiensis strains, 7 B. thuringiensis subspecies, and 11 B. thuringiensis field isolates, as well as for the closely related species Bacillus cereus and Bacillus anthracis. Computer analysis and alignment of nucleotide sequences identified three mutations and one deletion in the intergenic spacer region (ISR) of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD-1 when compared with ISR sequences from other subspecies. The same differences were identified between the ISR of B. thuringiensis strains and the ISR of B. cereus and B. anthracis. These minor differences do not seem to be sufficient to allow the design of a species-specific oligonucleotide probe.
Project description:Genes encoding insecticidal crystal proteins were cloned from three strains of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kenyae and two strains of B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. Characterization of the B. thuringiensis subsp. kenyae toxin genes showed that they are most closely related to cryIA(c) from B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. The cloned genes were introduced into Bacillus host strains, and the spectra of insecticidal activities of each Cry protein were determined for six pest lepidopteran insects. CryIA(c) proteins from B. thuringiensis subsp. kenyae are as active as CryIA(c) proteins from B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki against Trichoplusia ni, Lymantria dispar, Heliothis zea, and H. virescens but are significantly less active against Plutella xylostella and, in some cases, Ostrinia nubilalis. The sequence of a cryIA(c) gene from B. thuringiensis subsp. kenyae was determined (GenBank M35524) and compared with that of cryIA(c) from B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. The two genes are more than 99% identical and show seven amino acid differences among the predicted sequences of 1,177 amino acids.
Project description:The development of realistic risk models that predict the dissemination, dispersion and persistence of potential biothreat agents have utilized nonpathogenic surrogate organisms such as Bacillus atrophaeus subsp. globigii or commercial products such as Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. Comparison of results from outdoor tests under different conditions requires the use of genetically identical strains; however, the requirement for isogenic strains limits the ability to compare other desirable properties, such as the behavior in the environment of the same strain prepared using different methods. Finally, current methods do not allow long-term studies of persistence or reaerosolization in test sites where simulants are heavily used or in areas where B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki is applied as a biopesticide. To create a set of genetically heterogeneous yet phenotypically indistinguishable strains so that variables intrinsic to simulations (e.g., sample preparation) can be varied and the strains can be tested under otherwise identical conditions, we have developed a strategy of introducing small genetic signatures ("barcodes") into neutral regions of the genome. The barcodes are stable over 300 generations and do not impact in vitro growth or sporulation. Each barcode contains common and specific tags that allow differentiation of marked strains from wild-type strains and from each other. Each tag is paired with specific real-time PCR assays that facilitate discrimination of barcoded strains from wild-type strains and from each other. These uniquely barcoded strains will be valuable tools for research into the environmental fate of released organisms by providing specific artificial detection signatures.
Project description:Bacillus thuringiensis is a Gram-positive bacterium that produces intracellular protein crystals toxic to a wide variety of insect larvae. We report the complete genome sequence of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki strain HD73 from the Centre OILB (Institut Pasteur, France), which belongs to serotype 3ab and is toxic to lepidopteran larvae.
Project description:We report here the genome sequences of two bacteriophages of the Bacillus cereus group, DirtyBetty and Kida. These bacteriophages are double-stranded DNA-containing Myoviridae isolated from soil samples using Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki as their host bacteria.
Project description:This paper reports the isolation and identification of chitinase-producing Bacillus from chitin-containing wastes, production of a thermostable and alkaline chitinasese, and enzyme characterization. Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HBK-51 was isolated from soil and was identified. Chitinase was obtained from supernatant of B. thuringiensis HBK-51 strain and showed its optimum activity at 110°C and at pH 9.0. Following 3 hours of incubation period, the enzyme showed a high level of activity at 110°C (96% remaining activity) and between pH 9.0 and 12.0 (98% remaining activity). Considering these characteristics, the enzyme was described as hyperthermophile-thermostable and highly alkaline. Two bands of the enzyme weighing 50 and 125 kDa were obtained following 12% SDS-PAGE analyses. Among the metal ions and chemicals used, Ni(2+) (32%), K(+) (44%), and Cu(2+) (56%) increased the enzyme activity while EDTA (7%), SDS (7%), Hg(2+) (11%), and ethyl-acetimidate (20%) decreased the activity of the enzyme. Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HBK-51 is an important strain which can be used in several biotechnological applications as a chitinase producer.
Project description:Mosquitocidal Bacillus thuringiensis strains show as a common feature the presence of toxic proteins with cytolytic and hemolytic activities, Cyt1Aa1 being the characteristic cytolytic toxin of Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis. We have detected the presence of another cyt gene in this subspecies, highly homologous to cyt2An1, coding for the 29-kDa cytolytic toxin from B. thuringiensis subsp. kyushuensis. This gene, designated cyt2Ba1, maps upstream of cry4B coding for the 130-kDa crystal toxin, on the 72-MDa plasmid of strain 4Q2-72. Sequence analysis revealed, as a remarkable feature, a 5' mRNA stabilizing region similar to those described for some cry genes. PCR amplification and Southern analysis confirmed the presence of this gene in other mosquitocidal subspecies. Interestingly, anticoleopteran B. thuringiensis subsp. tenebrionis belonging to the morrisoni serovar also showed this gene. On the other hand, negative results were obtained with the anti-lepidopteran strains B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki HD-1 and subsp. aizawai HD-137. Western analysis failed to reveal Cyt2A-related polypeptides in B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis 4Q2-72. However, B. thuringiensis subsp. israelensis 1884 and B. thuringiensis subsp. tenebrionis did show cross-reactive products, although in very small amounts.
Project description:The detection of bacterial pathogens from complex sample matrices by PCR requires efficient DNA extraction. In this study, a protocol for extraction and purification of DNA from swabs, air, and water samples using a microfluidic chip system was established. The optimized protocol includes a combination of thermal, chemical and enzymatic lysis followed by chip-based DNA purification using magnetic particles. The procedure was tested using Gram-positive Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner var. kurstaki as a model organism for Bacillus anthracis and the attenuated live vaccine strain of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica as Gram-negative bacterium. The detection limits corresponded to 103 genome equivalents per milliliter (GE/ml) for surface water samples spiked with F. tularensis and 102 GE/ml for B. thuringiensis. In air, 10 GE of F. tularensis per 10 L and 1 GE of B. thuringiensis per 10 L were detectable. For swab samples obtained from artificially contaminated surfaces the detection limits were 4 × 103 GE/cm2 for F. tularensis and 4 × 102 GE/cm2 for B. thuringiensis. Suitability of the chip-assisted procedure for DNA preparation of real samples was demonstrated using livestock samples. The presence of thermophilic Campylobacter spp. DNA could be confirmed in air samples collected on pig and broiler farms.
Project description:Three cluster C Myoviridae bacteriophages that infect Bacillus cereus group bacteria were isolated from soil collected in the mid-Atlantic region using B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki as a host. Bacillus phages HonestAbe, Anthony, and Taffo16 each shared 90% or higher average nucleotide identities within their subclusters.
Project description:We report the sequences of nine novel Bacillus cereus group bacteriophages: DIGNKC, Juglone, Nemo, Nigalana, NotTheCreek, Phrodo, SageFayge, Vinny, and Zuko. These bacteriophages are double-stranded DNA-containing Myoviridae isolated from soil samples using B. thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki as the host bacterium.