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Transport of viable but non-culturable Escherichia coli O157:H7 in soil and groundwater Open Access


Other title
E.coli O157:H7
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kartz, Cory
Supervisor and department
Dyck, Miles (Renewable Resources)
Kachanoski, Gary (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Mendoza, Carl (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Renewable Resources

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The influence of the viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state on specific phenotypic traits of Escherichia coli O157:H7 as well as its transport behaviour in porous media was examined in this study. E.coli O157:H7 is a human pathogen capable of entering a VBNC state following exposure to sublethal stress. In the VBNC state, E.coli O157:H7 is not detectable by culture assays; yet, is able to retain its ability to cause human illness. This study examined specific transport-related properties of culturable and VBNC E.coli O157:H7 cells. As well, transport behaviors of the two cellular states were compared using sand-packed columns under steady-state flow. When E.coli O157:H7 cells entered a VBNC state, significant decreases in the hydrophobicity and lengths/widths of the cells, and a significant increase in extracellular polymeric substances on the cell surfaces were measured. Transport experiments indicated significantly (p<0.05) greater mass transport of VBNC cells through unwashed sand compared to culturable cells. This research contributes to the current knowledge describing VBNC E.coli O157:H7 cells, raises questions concerning the accuracy of culture-based E.coli O157:H7 identification protocols, and suggests that bacteria transport in the subsurface is a truly dynamic process.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Swerdlow, D.L., Woodruff, B.A., Brady, R.C., Griffin, P.M., Tippen, S., Donnell,Jr., H.D., Geldreich, E., Payne, B.J., Meyer, Jr., A., Wells, J.G., Greene, K.D., Bright, M., Bean, N.H., and Blake, P.A. 1992. A waterborne outbreak in Missouri of ...
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