The Caenorhabditis elegans assay: a tool to evaluate the pathogenic potential of bacterial biocontrol agents
ABSTRACT Bacterial biocontrol agents (BCAs) open up the possibility of controlling plant pathogens in an environmentally friendly way.
Although they are naturally occurring microbes, some of them can cause diseases in humans. For successful registration it
is necessary to test potentially adverse effects on the human health of at-risk candidates. Existing pathogenicity assays
are cost-intensive, time-consuming and furthermore they are often inappropriate for facultative pathogens. We developed a
new, fast and inexpensive bioassay on the basis of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which is a well-accepted model organism to study bacterial pathogenicity. A selection of eight strains from clinical and
environmental origin as well as potential and commercial BCAs from the genera Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Serratia and Stenotrophomonas were screened for their potential to kill the nematode in an in vitro agar plate assay. Furthermore, the motility and reproductive behaviour of nematodes exposed to strains were tested in comparison
with those fed by the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa QC14-3-8 (positive control) and the negative control Escherichia coli OP50. Commercial as well as potential biocontrol strains did not display any adverse effects in all tests. In contrast, the
C. elegans assay showed slight effects for clinical and environmental Stenotrophomonas strains. Results showed that the nematode C. elegans provides a model system to indicate the pathogenic potential of BCAs in a very early stage of product development.
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ABSTRACT: Members of the bacterial genus Salmonella are recognized worldwide as major zoonotic pathogens often found to persist in non-enteric environments including heterogeneous aquatic biofilms. In this study, Salmonella isolates that had been detected repeatedly over time in aquatic biofilms at different sites in Spring Lake, San Marcos, Texas, were identified as serovars Give, Thompson, Newport and -:z10:z39. Pathogenicity results from feeding studies with the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as host confirmed that these strains were pathogenic, with Salmonella-fed C. elegans dying faster (mean survival time between 3 and 4 days) than controls, i.e., Escherichia coli-fed C. elegans (mean survival time of 9.5 days). Cells of these isolates inoculated into water at a density of up to 10(6) ml(-1) water declined numerically by 3 orders of magnitude within 2 days, reaching the detection limit of our quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based quantification technique (i.e., 10(3) cells ml(-1)). Similar patterns were obtained for cells in heterogeneous aquatic biofilms developed on tiles and originally free of Salmonella that were kept in the inoculated water. Cell numbers increased during the first days to more than 10(7) cells cm(-2), and then declined over time. Ten-fold higher cell numbers of Salmonella inoculated into water or into biofilm resulted in similar patterns of population dynamics, though cells in biofilms remained detectable with numbers around 10(4) cells cm(-2) after 4 weeks. Independent of detectability by qPCR, samples of all treatments harbored viable salmonellae that resembled the inoculated isolates after 4 weeks of incubation. These results demonstrate that pathogenic salmonellae were isolated from heterogeneous aquatic biofilms and that they could persist and stay viable in such biofilms in high numbers for some time.Microbial Ecology 08/2012; · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: While nematodes are most commonly known for their negative impact on plants, animals, and humans, there are a number of species which are commercially explored. This review highlights some of the most important success stories for the application of nematodes. They are used as bioindicators in ecological and toxicity studies, as model organisms for elucidating fundamental biological questions and for high throughput screening of drugs. Besides these indirect uses, direct applications include the use of Beddingia siricidicola against a major forest pest and the commercialization of Steinernema, Heterorhabditis, and Phasmarhabditis as biological pest control products. New directions for the commercialization of nematodes are the use as living food, specifically loaded with essential nutrients for various fish and shrimp larvae. Even human parasites or closely related species have been successfully used for curing autoimmune disorders and are currently in the process of being developed as drugs. With the striving development of life sciences, we are likely to see more applications for nematodes in the future. A prerequisite is that we continue to explore the vast number of yet undiscovered nematode species.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 06/2013; · 3.81 Impact Factor