Q-245. Detection of Burkholderia Species in Soil Contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

K. A. Ruegg, G. M. Colores;
Central Michigan Univ., Mt. Pleasant, MI.

Members of the genus Burkholderia are well-known inhabitants of soil and plant rhizospheres, and it has been suggested that strains isolated from clinical settings may have environmental reservoirs. This is of particular concern to patients with cystic fibrosis as they are susceptible to infection by some Burkholderia species, especially members of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc). Additionally, the diverse metabolic capabilities of Burkholderia species allows for the bioremediation of many soil contaminants, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and may allow them to exploit this niche as well. The focus of this study is to determine whether PAH contaminated soils may be a possible reservoir of Burkholderia species that are potentially pathogenic to immunocompromised patients. Soil samples from PAH contaminated areas at the Ford Rouge Plant in Detroit, Michigan were collected in order to identify the Burkholderia species present. This site is part of a phytoremediation demonstration project and samples included unplanted soil and soil from different plant rhizospheres. Following DNA extraction, the recA gene was PCR amplified using primers that target organisms in the genus Burkholderia and Bcc specific primers. We analyzed DNA extracts from the rhizospheres of 18 different plant species and unplanted soil, 3 replicates of each. Using the genus-level primers, Burkholderia species were detected in at least one replicate from each of the rhizosphere and unplanted soil samples. The Bcc targeted primers also yielded PCR products from soil samples, however in many cases multiple products were generated. Cloning and sequencing of all PCR products will allow us to determine whether potentially pathogenic Burkholderia strains may be present in these contaminated soil samples.