Assessment of statistical methods used in library-based approaches to microbial source tracking

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Several commonly used statistical methods for fingerprint identification in microbial source tracking (MST) were examined to assess the effectiveness of pattern-matching algorithms to correctly identify sources. Although numerous statistical methods have been employed for source identification, no widespread consensus exists as to which is most appropriate. A large-scale comparison of several MST methods, using identical fecal sources, presented a unique opportunity to assess the utility of several popular statistical methods. These included discriminant analysis, nearest neighbour analysis, maximum similarity and average similarity, along with several measures of distance or similarity.

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