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Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of Salmonella serotypes isolated from wildlife in Ohio

Research Scholar

Lusiana Françoisse Pessoa de Farias, Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Brazil)
Bayleyegn Molla, Co-Researcher
Wondwossen A Gebreyes, Faculty Mentor


Lusiana Françoisse Pessoa de Farias is a visiting scholar from Brazil. She is a fourth year student of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine at the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil, and has practiced in the area of zoonoses and public health. She has experience in animal food microbiology and cardiovascular physiology. She graduated with a degree in languages education (Portuguese/English) with emphasis in English literature and teaching from the State University of Paraiba, Brazil. She has published her work in the periodic magazine ReBRALE and has presented in the IV Humanity Week (IV Semana de Humanidades).

What is the issue or problem addressed in your research?

The role of wildlife and associated environment in the epidemiology of Salmonella has been of public health and veterinary concerns worldwide. Previous studies have reported the same strains of Salmonella serotypes isolated from humans and wildlife species, suggesting that wildlife may serve as a reservoir for Salmonella infections in humans. Differential host susceptibility, varying pathogenicity of Salmonella and differences in immune system function influence the disease potential of Salmonella in humans and in wildlife.

What methodology did you use in your research?

The Salmonella isolates were recovered from fecal samples of various wildlife species  (crane, cheetah, racoon, giraffe, takin, camel, sika, coyote, blue sheep and goral) and the environment (crane) between January to june 2008 from the Wilds' zoo, Ohio. The preliminary results of this study will allow us to expand knowledge about the prevalence of this pathogen in wildlife in Ohio, and indicate that some strains can be circulating among a variety of wildlife species.

We will characterize phenotypically 43 Salmonella isolates recovered from environmental (n=89) and fecal samples of wildlife (n=287) from The Wilds' Zoo through antimicrobial susceptibility testing using the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method and serotyping. We will also perform the Pulsed-field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) genotyping method in order to determine the relatedness of the isolates recovered from the wildlife and environment.

What are the purpose/rationale and implications of your research?

Genotyping of the Salmonella serotypes using PFGE will show us the level of genotypic relationship and clonal dissemination of Salmonella strains among different host species and the environment. This will allow us to determine whether the isolates originated from a common source including  the environment, which can potentially suggest  the increased zoonotic potential of the circulating Salmonella serotypes.