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This Task Order provides technical support for characterizing microbial communities in samples from multiple sources. This work involves sample processing to obtain nucleic acids (e.g., DNA, RNA), sample characterization, performing culture techniques, and obtaining Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) services.
Task 1 involves the collection and/or processing of water, biofilm, and sediment samples obtained from various sources including (1) AWBERC building water (i.e., tap and loop/riser), (2) T&E Pilot-Scale Drinking Water Storage Tank Project and (3) samples shipped to AWBERC from outside sources. The emergence and development of NGS opens new perspectives in microbial ecology studies. NGS technology has the potential to provide information about the underlying mechanisms involved in microbial persistence, identify opportunistic pathogens, and detect virulence- and antimicrobial-associated genes. The purpose of this research is to determine how and why these opportunistic waterborne pathogens can persist within built environment systems and how to implement effective water management plans to mitigate exposure risks to pathogens. This task requires sample characterization and processing to obtain nucleic-acids and includes utilizing NGS technologies to obtain data that will be used to characterize microbial communities in the multi-source samples.
Task 2 is an Optional Task and involves detecting mycobacteria in drinking water. Mycobacteria are a group of bacteria that are widespread in nature. A particularly pathogenic group of slow growing mycobacteria belong to the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), which includes Mycobacterium avium, M. intracellulare, and possibly other species. MAC organisms are clinically significant, causing a myriad of opportunistic infections including pulmonary infections, cervical lymphadenitis, and disseminated disease. There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of MAC organisms. The link between the environment and patient has been established, with drinking water being a potential source of exposure. MAC organisms have been isolated from drinking water around the world. In this Task, samples will be processed, and a culture method performed to confirm the presence of viable MAC in water, as well as to obtain isolates that can be further characterized from drinking water. Sanger sequencing will be used to identify these isolates and access their risk to human health.