Fecal pollution source tracking in waters intended for human supply based on archaeal and bacterial genetic markers

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The determination of fecal pollution sources in aquatic ecosystems is essential to estimate associated health risks. In this study, we evaluate eight microbial source tracking (MST) markers including host-specific Bacteroidales and Methanobrevibacter spp. for discrimination between human, bovine, equine, and swine fecal contamination in waters intended for human supply. Overall, the novel host-specific archaeal and bacterial primers proposed in this study demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity. Markers for the Archaea domain were more prevalent in the fecal and water samples studied. We conclude that the investigations regarding the sources of fecal pollution in public water supplies can contribute to improve the quality of human health. To our knowledge, this is the first analysis using both archaeal and bacterial fecal MST markers on tropical water bodies of Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil.

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