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PCR is a molecular method in which a specific gene can be amplified permitting detection and quantification of a target DNA marker in a mixture of non-target DNA sequences. Since the target DNA can be extracted directly from environmental samples, cultivation of the indicator organism is not required thus eliminating culture bias while providing rapid detection with greater sensitivity and throughput. Skip to content. Identify Sources of Fecal Contamination using Molecular DNA Approaches Many surface waters and beaches do not meet water quality standards due to elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria e.

In a typical watershed, contamination of surface waters can stem from a myriad of potential point and non-point sources containing fecal material from: humans sewer leaks, sanitary sewer overflows, septic system failures, stormwater , dogs and other domestic animals stormwater, urban runoff , livestock confined animal feeding operations , and wildlife Traditionally, water quality has been assessed by cultivation-based enumeration of fecal indicator bacteria such as fecal coliforms and E.

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Microbial source tracking: methods, applications, and case studies | Global Water Pathogen Project

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    Viruses and Human Cancer. Mei Hwei Chang. But the presence of coliforms of soil and litter origin had raised doubt about their reliability as an indicator of the pathogen [6]. Also, the method used for coliform estimation is not precise.

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    Also, poor correlations have been reported between waterborne human viruses or protozoa and thermotolerant coliforms [6,9,10]. In contrast to MST markers, faecal coliforms provided a poor metric to assess risks of exposure to faecal contamination of human origin in the rural setting in India [9]. Such a situation is critical to understand, as evident from recent drinking water outbreaks where coliform standards were met [11] and in India most of the outbreaks go unnoticed. FIB concentrations have not been well correlated with pathogens in many studies [10].

    Furthermore, many epidemiology studies have failed to find a correlation between human health outcomes and FIB levels, particularly when the pollution is not from a known point source such as a wastewater treatment plant WWTP [14,15]. Nonetheless, water regulatory agencies have yet to come to terms with the inherent problems resulting from reliance on faecal indicator bacteria as currently determined. Fortunately, new index organisms for some pathogens look promising like C.

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    As these index organisms are relatively untested worldwide, extensive trials are necessary before their general acceptance in microbial risk assessment. It should be noted that useful index organisms in one system are not necessarily of value in a different environment. Use of multiple tests increases the surety of presence or absence of water pollution. In particular, it has been reported that at least two parameters are needed to accurately differentiate between two distinct faecal pollution sources: one specific indicator that identifies the source and another, a universal indicator that provides information on the faecal load [12].

    In consequence, the indicators should be carefully selected based on appropriate statistical analyses. Persistence studies are needed to provide complementary information, addressing the effects of environmental aspects like temperature, solar radiation, salinity, pH, chemical pollutants, water filtration, turbidity, starvation, predation and presence of heavy metals, among others.