Collection, Isolation, and Sequencing of Bacteriophages in Utah Valley

Bryce Brunetti, Ashley Escarate, Ashley Larsen, Trever Thurgood Utah Valley University, Orem UT

Bacteriophages are the most abundant organisms on earth and have the ability to target receptors on bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, by recognizing and lysing specific bacteria. The emergence of multi-drug resistant bacteria poses a threat to the healthcare system. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop and discover novel antimicrobials. According to the CDC’s 2019 Antibiotic Resistance Threat Report, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections, and more than 35,000 deaths occur in the U.S. each year. Bacteriophage specificity allows for the phages to only affect specific bacteria without harming beneficial bacteria. This is important because many antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately, affecting the overall health of the patient. Phage therapy is being used in a few countries to treat bacterial infections and is an area of research that deserves more attention. However, the amount of known phages is limited, and more studies need to be done to identify bacteriophages that could potentially be used in clinical settings. The purpose of this study is to isolate, amplify, purify, and sequence phages with potential antibacterial activity from wastewater facilities in the Utah Valley where bacteria and their phages are abundant. In the long-term, this research will provide valuable information regarding potential phage-mediated antibiotic resistance and/or the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in isolated phages. We collected 500mL of waste-water at seven different locations and screened for the presence of bacteriophages by testing against 16 different bacterial strains. Phages were isolated via spot tests and plaque assays. The phages will be purified and their genome sequenced using Illumina next-generation sequencing. Further characterization will be done and the data will be added to the available library of phage resources. Details of the findings will be presented. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Ashley Escarate, Ashley Larsen -
Alissa Landefeld -

Institution: Utah Valley University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 10
Date/Time: Wed 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 6504