An Evaluation of Subtyping Methods for the Identification of Fecal Pollution Sources
Moran, Mary Ann
Hodson, Robert E.
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Fecal coliform concentrations are routinely monitored in waterbodies as indicators of other more potentially dangerous human fecal-borne pathogens. However, high concentrations do not necessarily indicate human waste contamination, since other warm-blooded animals also release fecal coliforms. A method to distinguish between different sources of fecal coliforms would be beneficial for identifying contamination sources and determining the level of risk to humans. In this study, two methods, one molecular and one biochemical, were evaluated to determine if host-strain specific patterns could be established between the dominant member of the fecal coliform group, Escherichia coli, and potential sources (i.e. human, bovine, poultry) within the watershed of Lake Sidney Lanier, Georgia. Sixteen unique isolates (3 human, 3 bovine, 4 poultry, and 6 water samples) were evaluated using these methods. The molecular method was better at discriminating between strains of E. coli than the biochemical, and preliminary analysis indicates that similarities between source isolates exists.
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