Association between submerged aquatic vegetation and elevated levels of Escherichia coli and potential bacterial pathogens in freshwater lakes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fecal indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli have been reported to persist and potentially grow in a wide variety of secondary habitats, such as water, beach sand, sediment, periphyton and some algae. However, little is known about their association with submerged macrophytes and how this may influence water quality. In this study, we examined the association of E. coli and potential bacterial pathogens with Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM), an invasive, submerged, macrophyte that has spread across thousands of lakes in North America. EWM samples were collected from 10 lakes in Minnesota, once a month, for six consecutive months from early summer to late fall. Microbiota associated with EWM were examined using membrane filtration, quantitative PCR targeting various bacterial pathogens and host-associated marker genes, and high-throughput DNA sequencing. E. coli densities were generally elevated on EWM samples, and peaked during warmer months. Moreover, our results showed that EWM could serve as a temporal source for transmission of microbiota to the water column. Several potential pathogenic groups, including Aeromonas, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium were present in significantly greater relative abundance on EWM than in water, and waterfowl was predicted to be the major source of fecal contamination. These findings have water quality implications with respect to the potential for submerged macrophytes to harbor and disperse E. coli and other bacterial pathogens in a large number of waterbodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume657
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 20 2019

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Pathogens
Escherichia coli
Lakes
pathogen
vegetation
lake
Water quality
water quality
Water
waterfowl
periphyton
macrophyte
Clostridium
targeting
relative abundance
harbor
beach
Algae
Beaches
Ports and harbors

Keywords

  • DNA sequence
  • Escherichia coli
  • Eurasian watermilfoil
  • Fecal indicator bacteria
  • Pathogens
  • Submerged macrophytes
  • Waterfowl

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this

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title = "Association between submerged aquatic vegetation and elevated levels of Escherichia coli and potential bacterial pathogens in freshwater lakes",
abstract = "Fecal indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli have been reported to persist and potentially grow in a wide variety of secondary habitats, such as water, beach sand, sediment, periphyton and some algae. However, little is known about their association with submerged macrophytes and how this may influence water quality. In this study, we examined the association of E. coli and potential bacterial pathogens with Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM), an invasive, submerged, macrophyte that has spread across thousands of lakes in North America. EWM samples were collected from 10 lakes in Minnesota, once a month, for six consecutive months from early summer to late fall. Microbiota associated with EWM were examined using membrane filtration, quantitative PCR targeting various bacterial pathogens and host-associated marker genes, and high-throughput DNA sequencing. E. coli densities were generally elevated on EWM samples, and peaked during warmer months. Moreover, our results showed that EWM could serve as a temporal source for transmission of microbiota to the water column. Several potential pathogenic groups, including Aeromonas, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium were present in significantly greater relative abundance on EWM than in water, and waterfowl was predicted to be the major source of fecal contamination. These findings have water quality implications with respect to the potential for submerged macrophytes to harbor and disperse E. coli and other bacterial pathogens in a large number of waterbodies.",
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author = "Mathai, {Prince P} and Dunn, {Hannah M.} and Paolo Magnone and Qian Zhang and Satoshi Ishii and Chanlan Chun and Sadowsky, {Michael J}",
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AU - Zhang, Qian

AU - Ishii, Satoshi

AU - Chun, Chanlan

AU - Sadowsky, Michael J

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AB - Fecal indicator bacteria such as Escherichia coli have been reported to persist and potentially grow in a wide variety of secondary habitats, such as water, beach sand, sediment, periphyton and some algae. However, little is known about their association with submerged macrophytes and how this may influence water quality. In this study, we examined the association of E. coli and potential bacterial pathogens with Eurasian watermilfoil (EWM), an invasive, submerged, macrophyte that has spread across thousands of lakes in North America. EWM samples were collected from 10 lakes in Minnesota, once a month, for six consecutive months from early summer to late fall. Microbiota associated with EWM were examined using membrane filtration, quantitative PCR targeting various bacterial pathogens and host-associated marker genes, and high-throughput DNA sequencing. E. coli densities were generally elevated on EWM samples, and peaked during warmer months. Moreover, our results showed that EWM could serve as a temporal source for transmission of microbiota to the water column. Several potential pathogenic groups, including Aeromonas, Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium were present in significantly greater relative abundance on EWM than in water, and waterfowl was predicted to be the major source of fecal contamination. These findings have water quality implications with respect to the potential for submerged macrophytes to harbor and disperse E. coli and other bacterial pathogens in a large number of waterbodies.

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