Collecting “Wild” Enterococci Enterococci are commensal microorganisms that commonly colonize the intestines of humans, birds and other animals. These bacteria are opportunistic pathogens and can cause life-threatening infections in humans, especially in hospital environments where high levels of antibiotic resistance in certain strains contribute to their pathogenicity. Two species of this genus that opportunistically cause infections in humans are Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis. Most enterococcal strains used for laboratory studies are clinical isolates from human infections. The purpose of this study was to isolate novel enterococci from environmental (nonclinical) samples. This study is significant because it seeks to identify genetic or phenotypic characteristics that could be used to discriminate between clinical and environmental enterococci. The “wild” isolates collected from environmental samples will be compared to human infection isolates in future studies.
— by Ardalan Sharifi
The University of Texas at Dallas Undergraduate Research Journal. Volume 3, Spring 2013