The occurrence of the melioidosis causing bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei in bore water in the Northern Territory of Australia

  • Anthony Draper

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    Melioidosis is caused by the bacterium, Burkholderia pseudomallei, and is an emerging disease and a major health concern in its main areas of endemicity, Southeast Asia and northern Australia. Generally, B. pseudomallei is a saprophytic and hydrophilic organism whose survival is enhanced in soil with high moisture content. Its environmental niche is restricted to soil and surface water samples in areas that have high moisture (rainfall) and high temperatures. There is also a strong association between the incidence of melioidosis with monsoonal rainfall and extreme weather events such as cyclones.

    This treatise examined water parameters and the occurrence of the melioidosis agent, Burkholderia pseudomallei in 47 water bores in northern Australia. B. pseudomallei was isolated using conventional culture methods and was associated with soft, acidic bore water of low salinity but high iron levels. This finding aids in identifying water supplies at risk of contamination with this pathogenic bacterium.

    Furthermore, this treatise also investigated a number of methods to extract B. pseudomallei DNA from bore water with the DNA subsequently amplified using an assay targeting the Type III Secretion (TTS) System. B. pseudomallei DNA was detected, however the sensitivity resulting from every trialled extraction method was not high. Further investigations of DNA extraction methods are indicated.
    Date of AwardMay 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMirjam Kaestli (Supervisor)

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