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Title: Population structure of insect pathogenic bacteria in UK soil and their associated nematodes
Author: Al-Own, Fada'a
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2013
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Surveys for entomopathogenic bacteria and their associated nematode hosts were conducted locally (University of Bath campus) and across southern England. Sampling involved trialing a novel Android app. (Epicollect) to manage sample collection data. Galleria larvae were used to bait UK soil samples. Insects which became infected were placed on White traps to collect any emerging nematodes, from which bacteria were isolated. Bacteria were also isolated from the haemolymph of any infected larvae. Bacterial isolates were classified on the basis of 16s rDNA and recA gene sequences. Serratia proteamaculans-like strains dominated the samples, and Multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) was developed for the characterization of these Serratia isolates. We determined the sequences of (350-450-bp) fragments from five housekeeping genes of 84 isolates of Serratia proteamaculans. MLSA was shown to be effective for distinguishing closely related strains found in the insects’ haemolymph and from different nematodes. goeBURST was used to visualize the relationships between the STs, and the data showed a high level of discrimination, resolving 69 STs from the 84 isolates. In addition, the data derived from this study were represented in a phylogenetic network using the Splits Tree-network methods, to show the rate of recombination within and between the genes. From a total of 256 infected Galleria 23.04% were nematode positive. The nematodes were identified based on 18S rDNA 19 isolates were close relatives of the species Pristionchus entomophaga and Diplogasteriodes magnus (Diplogastridae). A further 16 isolates were more closely related to Steinernema glaseri (Steinernematidae). All three nematode types were isolated from diverse habitats and soil types, but were isolated more frequently in cold seasonal conditions. The bacterial sequence data suggest that the nematode- associated strains of bacteria belong to specific clades, distinct from the free living infective strains, which hints at ecological diversity within the S. proteamaculans population. Two of the Serratia proteamaculans-like strains had been chromosomally labeled with GFP to confirm the specifics of their association with the nematode hosts. The associated S. proteamaculans-like isolates isolated from Bath and Chepstow soils were examined further for their pathogenicity to Galleria mellonella and Manduca sexta larvae. Serratia Bath isolates, isolated from Pristionchus were more virulent toward both insect hosts than the Serratia from the Chepstow isolates associated with Steinernema nematodes. This suggests that host specificity may play important role in the virulence of the strain.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available