Current Microbiology

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 532–536 | Cite as

An Investigation of Bacillus thuringiensis in Rectal-Collected Fecal Samples of Cows

  • David R. Ammons
  • Antonio Reyna
  • Jose Cristobal Granados
  • Michael S. Samlal
  • Joanne N. Rampersad


In order to better understand the range and role of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and its toxins in nature, we have undertaken a study of Bt taken directly from the rectum of 117 cows from 37 farms on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Thirty-seven fecal samples (32%) were found to contain at least one Bt. Generally only one or two isolates with a particular crystal morphology were isolated from any one sample, however, a few samples contained more, up to 11 isolates, suggesting post-ingestion amplification. Bioassays using larvae of Musca domestica, Caenorhabditis elegans and Tetrahymena pyriformis showed no observable toxicity in gross bioassays. Very small dot-like parasporal bodies, not generally characteristic of Bt, were isolated from 44% of the samples, which in many instances appeared unstable and whose relation to Bt Cry protein-containing parasporal bodies is unknown. In conclusion, we find little evidence for a host adapted strain of Bt in the cows examined, nor toxicity to organisms that might logically be associated with either the cow or its feces. The presence of a large number of isolates containing small dot-like parasporal bodies, possibly either poly-β-hydroxybutyrate storage bodies or Cry proteins, was unexpected and merits further investigation.



JNR thanks the Faculty Research Council at the University of Texas-Pan American for financial support of work described in this Report and Welch Foundation Grant BG-0017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David R. Ammons
    • 1
  • Antonio Reyna
    • 1
  • Jose Cristobal Granados
    • 1
  • Michael S. Samlal
    • 2
  • Joanne N. Rampersad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryThe University of Texas-Pan AmericanEdinburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Veterinary MedicineThe University of the West IndiesMt. HopeTrinidad and Tobago

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