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Title: The Burkholderia cepacia complex : a clinical and biotechnological paradox
Author: Nzula, Sazini
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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The aims of this thesis were to investigate the biological properties of both clinical and environmental isolates of the B. cepacia complex, with particular relevance to their pathogenicity and potential biotechnological exploitation. B. vietnamiensis were more sensitive to ceftazidime and chloramphenicol than strains from the other genomovars, and environmental B. cepacia genomovar III strains were more sensitive to ciprofloxacin and chloramphenicol than clinical isolates of the same genomovar. Although resistance to antibiotics is not uniform across all the subgroups of the B. cepacia complex, the antibiotic-sensitive strains can readily mutate to high levels of resistance. With the exception of catalase and melanin that were only produced by clinical strains, other putative virulence factors were detected in both clinical and environmental isolates. Certain factors including genetic markers for epidemic spread, were also detected in candidate biopesticide strains. The phytopathogenicity of clinical and environmental isolates was also found to be similar. Lack of knowledge regarding the fate of the B. cepacia complex strains introduced to the environment is a major obstruction to the organisms' commercial exploitation. Of major concern is the possibility of genetic exchange between different B. cepacia complex strains had between the B. cepacia complex and other soil microflora. Natural transformation of B. cepacia complex strains was demonstrated with DNA from the well-characterised epidemic lineage ET12, represented by the Edinburgh isolate J2315. The transformed bacteria included candidate biopesticide strains. The similarity of putative B. cepacia complex virulence factors produced by clinical, environmental and candidate biopesticide strains, as well as the natural exchange of genes between all subgroups suggests that caution should be exercised on the commercial application of members of the B. cepacia as biopesticides.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available