Interaction between the Microbial Community and Invading Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Soils from Vegetable Fields Academic Article uri icon


  • The survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in soils can contaminate vegetables, fruits, drinking water, etc. However, data on the impact of E. coli O157:H7 on soil microbial communities are limited. In this study, we monitored the changes in the indigenous microbial community by using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method to investigate the interaction of the soil microbial community with E. coli O157:H7 in soils. Simple correlation analysis showed that the survival of E. coli O157:H7 in the test soils was negatively correlated with the ratio of Gram-negative (G(-)) to Gram-positive (G(+)) bacterial PLFAs (G(-)/G(+) ratio). In particular, levels of 14 PLFAs were negatively correlated with the survival time of E. coli O157:H7. The contents of actinomycetous and fungal PLFAs in the test soils declined significantly (P, <0.05) after 25 days of incubation with E. coli O157:H7. The G(-)/G(+) ratio declined slightly, while the ratio of bacterial to fungal PLFAs (B/F ratio) and the ratio of normal saturated PLFAs to monounsaturated PLFAs (S/M ratio) increased, after E. coli O157:H7 inoculation. Principal component analysis results further indicated that invasion by E. coli O157:H7 had some effects on the soil microbial community. Our data revealed that the toxicity of E. coli O157:H7 presents not only in its pathogenicity but also in its effect on soil microecology. Hence, close attention should be paid to the survival of E. coli O157:H7 and its potential for contaminating soils.


  • Yao, Zhiyuan
  • Wang, Haizhen
  • Wu, Laosheng
  • Wu, Jianjun
  • Brookes, Philip C
  • Xu, Jianming

publication date

  • 2014