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The objective of the present study was to assess if Acrobeloides buetschlii, an opportunistic species common across many soils, can be employed as a suitable model for interactions between free-living soil nematodes and enteric human pathogens. Acrobeloides buetschlii was exposed to mCherry-tagged Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli O157:H7 and its vector potential was assessed. Salmonella cells were more readily ingested by the nematodes compared to E. coli O157:H7. Adult nematodes ingested more bacteria compared to juveniles. Salmonella survived internally for at least 7 days without affecting the viability of nematodes. Bacterial ingestion by A. buetschlii did not vary for three tested Salmonella serovars but was significantly lower for E. coli O157:H7. Considering the ubiquitous nature of pathogen and vector, these findings suggest that A. buetschlii can serve as a relevant model for studying nematode-Salmonella interactions in an agricultural setting and as potential transport for food-borne pathogens from soil to crops.

In: Nematology