Presenter Information

Lanie UrbanskiFollow

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Tammy Tobin

Start Date

4-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

April 2021

Description

In this study, bacteria were analyzed from a near-surface environment impacted by the anthracite coal mine fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania. We hypothesized that the elevated soil temperatures created by the spread of the underground fire would provide an ideal environment for previously unstudied thermophilic bacteria. With nearly 3 million cases of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections annually, the identification of novel bacteria is critical to make new antibiotics. Surface soil samples were taken from boreholes across eight fire-impacted locations. Bacteria were isolated from these samples on actinomycetes isolation agar at an increased temperature of 50°C to mimic the soil environment. To identify the isolates, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was utilized to amplify the 16S rRNA gene that is present in all bacterial cells. The resulting fragments were sent out for sequencing and identification of the bacteria was achieved through BLAST analysis. Preliminary results revealed the presence of multiple strains of bacteria, such as Brevibacillus thermoruber, Brevibacillus SP. YT20, Fictibacillus gelatini, Bacillus psuedomycoides, and Bacillus subtilis, that have been identified in hot springs and soils globally. These analyses provide evidence that the unique Centralia environment does select for thermophiles that can display antimicrobial properties. Our ongoing work should thus allow us to isolate novel actinomycetes that may be utilized to produce new antibiotics.

NCUR Senior Research Presentation Materials.pdf (1514 kB)
Centralia Research Handout

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Apr 27th, 12:00 AM Apr 27th, 12:00 AM

Selection for Thermophilic Bacteria with Antibacterial Potential along Fire-Affected Soils in Centralia, PA

In this study, bacteria were analyzed from a near-surface environment impacted by the anthracite coal mine fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania. We hypothesized that the elevated soil temperatures created by the spread of the underground fire would provide an ideal environment for previously unstudied thermophilic bacteria. With nearly 3 million cases of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections annually, the identification of novel bacteria is critical to make new antibiotics. Surface soil samples were taken from boreholes across eight fire-impacted locations. Bacteria were isolated from these samples on actinomycetes isolation agar at an increased temperature of 50°C to mimic the soil environment. To identify the isolates, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) was utilized to amplify the 16S rRNA gene that is present in all bacterial cells. The resulting fragments were sent out for sequencing and identification of the bacteria was achieved through BLAST analysis. Preliminary results revealed the presence of multiple strains of bacteria, such as Brevibacillus thermoruber, Brevibacillus SP. YT20, Fictibacillus gelatini, Bacillus psuedomycoides, and Bacillus subtilis, that have been identified in hot springs and soils globally. These analyses provide evidence that the unique Centralia environment does select for thermophiles that can display antimicrobial properties. Our ongoing work should thus allow us to isolate novel actinomycetes that may be utilized to produce new antibiotics.

 

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