Aims: To assess the properties of B. thuringiensis naturally occurring in the intestines of bank voles.
Methods and Results: Seventeen Bacillus thuringiensis strains, exhibiting typical growth on selective medium for the B. cereus group and characterized by the ability to produce parasporal crystals, were isolated from bank voles trapped in the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew River Valley (north-east Poland). All isolates were characterized by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of chromosomal DNA and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of whole-cell proteins. Six pulsotypes were found with PFGE typing, using SmaI or NotI as restriction enzymes. Significant differences in chromosome size, ranging from 2·4 to 4·2 Mb for the B. thuringiensis strains studied, were noted. Strain heterogeneity in pulsotypes was also reflected by the similarity of whole-cell protein profiles of the strains. Environmental isolates and reference strains grouped at 71% similarity according to SDS-PAGE data and at 84% on the basis of biochemical tests.
Conclusions: B. thuringiensis from intestines of bank voles demonstrated an important level of heterogeneity. The comparison of PFGE profiles and SDS-PAGE of whole-cell protein patterns may be useful to evaluate the relationship between B. thuringiensis isolates.
Significance and Impact of the Study: The results presented in this paper may help to explain the diversity of B. thuringiensis.