N-205. Analysis of 16S rDNA and Metagenomic Sequences Revealed Microbial Community and Host-Specific Sequences of Canadian Geese Feces

J. Lu1, J. W. Santo Domingo1, T. Edge2, S. Hill2;
1US EPA, Cincinnati, OH, 2Natl. Water Res. Inst., Environment Canada, Burlington, ON, CANADA.

There is an increasing concern regarding the public health risks associated with waterfowl fecal pollution as a result of the increase in geese populations (Branta canadensis) in or near U.S. and Canadian recreational waters. Currently, there are no methods that can be used to detect this important source of pollution in part because of the scarcity of information on waterfowl fecal microbial communities. To address this, the molecular microbial diversity of Canadian geese feces was studied using 16S rRNA gene and metagenome clone libraries. Analyses of the fecal 16S rDNA clones (319) demonstrated that these communities are diverse. Bacterial classes included members of the Clostridia (47%) and Bacilli (31%), and gamma Proteobacteria (15%). In contrast with mammalian gut systems, only a very small fraction of the 16S rDNA sequences were similar to the Bacteriodetes group. Putative protein-coding sequences (270) were identified using bioinformatic analysis of a total of 354 metagenomic clones. Approximately 40% of the protein-encoding sequences identified could be classified into functional groups. Similarity analyses indicated that a significant fraction of the proteins identified was similar to known proteins in Bacilli, Clostridia and gamma Proteobacteria. Avian viruses and bacterial phage sequences were also obtained. The results from this study suggest that the gut microbial community structure and molecular diversity of Canadian geese is relatively different from domesticated animal counterparts, including poultry. Genetic differences might be useful in the development of assays to distinguish Canadian feces from other fecal sources.