This project is investigating pathogens present in soil through the application of the Galleria mellonella model. It will identify clinically-relevant pathogenic bacteria in the soil microbiome and consider their role in antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Surveillance of environmental reservoirs of disease is necessary to make sure medical professions are prepared to treat environmentally-acquired infections.
Previous studies into the occurrence and diversity of environmental pathogens have mainly focused on studying water sources. Yet relatively little is known about what pathogens are present in soil.
This research has used the Galleria mellonella model to screen for the presence of opportunistic pathogens in microbial communities extracted from soil samples in Cornwall, UK.
The G. mellonella model system has previously been used as a virulence model analogous to mammalian models, due to the similarities in their innate immune systems. Recent studies have shown, however, that it is also possible to use G. mellonella as a biosensor to screen for the presence of opportunistic pathogens in environmental samples.
Findings from this research so far suggest that opportunistic pathogens are commonly present in soil microbiomes. The research team have been able to isolate a range of clinically relevant pathogenic bacteria from their environmental samples, and are in the process of further characterising these isolates in terms of AMR, virulence and gene sequencing.
This study emphasises the importance of the G. mellonella model in the study of clinically relevant pathogens, and highlights the need for studying the soil microbiome as an environmental reservoir of disease.