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Dr Elizabeth Alm from the Department of Biology at Centeral Michigan University will be giving a seminar on December 8 as a part of the NOAA/ University of Michigan Great Lakes and Human Health Seminar Series.

Please find details of her talk listed below.

Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Alm <http://www.cst.cmich.edu/users/alm1ew/AlmLab.html>, Department of Biology, Central Michigan University

Title: "Health Implications of Fecal Bacteria on Great Lakes beaches"

Date: Thursday December 8

Time: 10:30 am

Location: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
              2205 Commonwealth Blvd.
              Ann Arbor, MI

Recreational beaches may serve as both a reservoir of fecal bacteria and a contact point between these bacteria and the public. Recent studies at several Great Lakes beaches have demonstrated persistent, high densities of Escherichia coli and enterococci in beach sand. In both laboratory sand microcosms and in diffusion chamber studies in the field, E. coli isolated from Lake Huron sand were able to grow and to persist at high density. Multi-locus enzyme electrophoresis analysis suggests that the E. coli community of Lake Huron beaches is genetically diverse and that the rate of genetic exchange among the E. coli is high. Our working hypothesis is that the high cell densities combined with environmental stressors at the beach promote rapid lateral gene transfer among sand-associated bacteria. Among the genes that may be moving in the sand microbial community are genes for antibiotic resistance and for enhanced virulence. Approximately one third of E. coli isolated from Lake Huron beaches are resistant to commonly used antibiotics and in sand microcosms incubated under simulated beach conditions, laboratory strains of E. coli were able to transfer and receive plasmids encoding kanamycin-resistance. In addition we have isolated pathogenic strains of bacteria including E. coli O157:H7 and Shigella from recreational beaches. In DNA extracted from colonies on mTEC we have detected the genes encoding intimin and shiga toxins 1 and 2.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at kanika.suri@noaa.gov; or call 734-741-2147.

For more information about the seminar series, please visit our website at http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/news/seminars/


Kanika Suri
Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health (CEGLHH)
2205 Commonwealth Blvd.
Ann Arbor, MI


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