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Diversity of Vancomycin Genes in Sub-tropical Soils

Date of Award

Spring 4-24-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. DeEtta Mills

Second Advisor

Dr. Walter Goldberg


With the increased antibiotic exposure from anthropogenic sources, soil microbes are an ever-increasing ecological pool of resistant bacteria. This is the case with bacterial resistance to vancomycin through transfer of van-resistance genes by transposons. Studies show that bacterial species other than enteroccoci harbor genetic-like elements such as the Tn1546 transposon containing vancomycin-resistant genes. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in hospital settings and agricultural practices have led to an increase in transferability of vancomycin-resistant genes among microbes. The objective of this project is to analyze the diversity of these genes found in the soil microbes from Miami-Dade County. Bacterial isolates were Gram-stained and the Kirby-Bauer antibiotic disk diffusion test was performed to determine the degree of resistance. Results showed that all bacterial isolates were resistant to penicillin at the 10 µg concentration and most were susceptible to varying vancomycin concentrations (10 µg, 20 µg, and 30 µg). A 1465 bp fragment was amplified from the 16S rDNA gene using 27F and 1492R universal primers from the multi-antibiotic resistant bacteria and sequenced to identify the isolates. Three Gram-negative bacteria genera were identified with the closest phylogenetic match to: Pseudomonas sp., Stenotrophomonas sp., Xanthomonas sp., as well as two Gram-positive bacteria genera: Bacillus sp. and Brevibacillus sp. The isolates’ vanA and vanB genes were amplified using the respective primers. Ongoing work is underway to sequence and compare these known van resistant genes, with the goal of revealing intrinsic vancomycin resistance present in soil bacteria.

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