Temporal and Spatial Variability of Fecal Indicator Bacteria: Implications for the Application of MST Methodologies to Differentiate Sources of Fecal Contamination

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Temporal variability in the gastrointestinal flora of animals impacting water resources with fecal material can be one of the factors producing low source identification rates when applying microbial source tracking (MST) methods. Understanding how bacterial species and genotypes vary over time is highly relevant when the fecal material used to create a source library is collected under very different seasonal conditions than the environmental sample. Our objective was to identify and compare the temporal and spatial variability of fecal indicator bacteria from a specific host in manure and water samples and evaluate the implications of such variability on microbial source tracking approaches and applications.

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