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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.

SUBMITTER: Van Cuyk S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3208992 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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