Out of the ground

Aerial and exotic habitats of the melioidosis bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in grasses in Australia

Mirjam Kaestli, Michael Schmid, Mark Mayo, Michael Rothballer, Glenda Harrington, Leisha Richardson, Audrey Hill, Jason Hill, Apichai Tuanyok, Paul Keim, Anton Hartmann, Bart J. Currie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Melioidosis is an emerging infectious disease of humans and animals in the tropics caused by the soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Despite high fatality rates, the ecology of B. pseudomallei remains unclear. We used a combination of field and laboratory studies to investigate B. pseudomallei colonization of native and exotic grasses in northern Australia. Multivariable and spatial analyses were performed to determine significant predictors for B. pseudomallei occurrence in plants and soil collected longitudinally from field sites. In plant inoculation experiments, the impact of B. pseudomallei upon these grasses was studied and the bacterial load semi-quantified. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and confocal laser scanning microscopy were performed to localize the bacteria in plants. Burkholderia pseudomallei was found to inhabit not only the rhizosphere and roots but also aerial parts of specific grasses. This raises questions about the potential spread of B. pseudomallei by grazing animals whose droppings were found to be positive for these bacteria. In particular, B. pseudomallei readily colonized exotic grasses introduced to Australia for pasture. The ongoing spread of these introduced grasses creates new habitats suitable for B. pseudomallei survival and may be an important factor in the evolving epidemiology of melioidosis seen both in northern Australia and elsewhere globally.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2058-2070
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
    Volume14
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

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    Burkholderia pseudomallei
    Melioidosis
    Poaceae
    Ecosystem
    grass
    grasses
    Bacteria
    bacterium
    bacteria
    habitat
    habitats
    animal
    infectious disease
    epidemiology
    inoculation
    Soil
    rhizosphere
    microscopy
    pasture
    fluorescence

    Cite this

    Kaestli, Mirjam ; Schmid, Michael ; Mayo, Mark ; Rothballer, Michael ; Harrington, Glenda ; Richardson, Leisha ; Hill, Audrey ; Hill, Jason ; Tuanyok, Apichai ; Keim, Paul ; Hartmann, Anton ; Currie, Bart J. / Out of the ground : Aerial and exotic habitats of the melioidosis bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in grasses in Australia. In: Environmental Microbiology. 2012 ; Vol. 14, No. 8. pp. 2058-2070.
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    abstract = "Melioidosis is an emerging infectious disease of humans and animals in the tropics caused by the soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Despite high fatality rates, the ecology of B. pseudomallei remains unclear. We used a combination of field and laboratory studies to investigate B. pseudomallei colonization of native and exotic grasses in northern Australia. Multivariable and spatial analyses were performed to determine significant predictors for B. pseudomallei occurrence in plants and soil collected longitudinally from field sites. In plant inoculation experiments, the impact of B. pseudomallei upon these grasses was studied and the bacterial load semi-quantified. Fluorescence in situ hybridization and confocal laser scanning microscopy were performed to localize the bacteria in plants. Burkholderia pseudomallei was found to inhabit not only the rhizosphere and roots but also aerial parts of specific grasses. This raises questions about the potential spread of B. pseudomallei by grazing animals whose droppings were found to be positive for these bacteria. In particular, B. pseudomallei readily colonized exotic grasses introduced to Australia for pasture. The ongoing spread of these introduced grasses creates new habitats suitable for B. pseudomallei survival and may be an important factor in the evolving epidemiology of melioidosis seen both in northern Australia and elsewhere globally.",
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    Out of the ground : Aerial and exotic habitats of the melioidosis bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in grasses in Australia. / Kaestli, Mirjam; Schmid, Michael; Mayo, Mark; Rothballer, Michael; Harrington, Glenda; Richardson, Leisha; Hill, Audrey; Hill, Jason; Tuanyok, Apichai; Keim, Paul; Hartmann, Anton; Currie, Bart J.

    In: Environmental Microbiology, Vol. 14, No. 8, 08.2012, p. 2058-2070.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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