2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Applying molecular methods to identify human and ruminant fecal contamination sources in Forest Lake, Kirksville, MO
Diana S. Acevedo
Dr. Cynthia Cooper and Dr. Michael Lockhart, Faculty Mentors

The presence of Escherichia coli in water has been used to monitor fecal contamination in Forest Lake. E.coli bacterial counts alone do not identify the source of fecal contamination. A different genus, Bacteroides, contains more genetic diversity and is also common to all warm-blooded animal intestines, thus present in feces. The objective of this study was to apply a rapid method to determine the source of fecal contamination by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) using Bacteroides specific DNA primers. Six study sites (two swimming areas) were evaluated for fecal pollution. DNA was evaluated by PCR and preliminary results show that the specific B. theta PCR primer products were more abundant than the human or ruminant genus primer products in lake samples. Molecular tools such as Bacteroides PCR primers can be used to determine the presence of fecal contamination, however, more studies are needed to determine the host-specific source of fecal contamination.

Keywords: Bacteroides, Water Quality, Molecular Methods

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-1
Location: MG 2001
Time: 8:00

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