Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic and chemical markers to determine who contaminated the river. Was it a human, a pig or a cow?

Date:
July 8, 2010
Source:
Cemagref
Summary:
Considerable efforts, including upgrading of water-treatment plants and farms, treatment of farm effluents, etc., have been made to limit microbial pollution, notably fecal pollution of surface waters, but their quality is not yet satisfactory. Researchers are now developing tools based on ADN and chemical analysis to determine whether the pollution is of human, porcine or bovine origin.

Considerable efforts, including upgrading of water-treatment plants and farms, treatment of farm effluents, etc., have been made to limit microbial pollution, notably faecal pollution, of surface waters, but their quality is not yet satisfactory. Researchers from a number of organisations, including Cemagref, joined forces in the TRACEUR and MARQUOPOLEAU1 projects to develop tools based on ADN and chemical analysis to determine whether the pollution is of human, porcine or bovine origin. The result is a "toolbox" that will assist monitoring services and local governments in meeting the requirements contained in new regulations concerning bathing water and the management of health risks.

Following the new directives on water in bathing zones and for shellfish production, regulations on water quality have been reinforced. The new Bathing-water directive, applicable in 2015, provides that local governments must establish, by 2011, bathing-water profiles that identify local sources of pollution and the measures required to improve water quality. The goal is to improve management of the risks caused by pathogenic micro-organisms of faecal origin in sensitive zones, e.g. bathing waters and zones for shellfish production.

There are a number of sources of the faecal pollution found in surface waters all the way to the sea, including household wastewater and non-collective water treatment, runoff water, spreading of liquid manure or simply pasture zones along rivers. To detect them, monitoring labs generally cultivate intestinal bacteria, e.g. Escherichia coli or Enterococcus, present in humans and other animals. However, they have no means to distinguish the origin of the contamination.

Enhancing the diagnosis to meet regulatory goals

Two projects, Traceur and Marquopoleau, were launched by a dozen scientific organisations to provide the water sector with analytical tools capable of determining, in less than 48 hours, the human or animal origin of faecal contamination and also of distinguishing between porcine and bovine pollution. The work combined two approaches. The first was microbiological and based on identifying micro-organisms specific to humans, pigs and cows, using techniques to amplify viral or bacterial DNA sequences. The second was chemical, to detect synthetic and natural molecules that are specifically human or animal.

A set of markers was thus developed and tested in different environments. They are capable of indicating whether the origin is human (bacteriophages, Bacteroidales, Bifidobacterium, steroids, perfumes, flame retardants, caffeine, etc.), porcine (Lactobacillus, Bacteroidales, steroids) or bovine (Bacteroidales, steroids). These innovative, analytical tools are in the process of being transferred and developed in water-analysis labs participating in the Marquopoleau project.

Marquopoleau, an original transfer from research to applied analysis

This project, launched in 2009, is an opportunity for the analysis labs, under real conditions and using their own equipment, to test the traceability methods developed by the research teams for certain bacterial markers, e.g. Bacteroidales, the most common anaerobic bacteria in the intestinal flora, that are specific to humans or pigs or cows. Marker concentrations in faecal matter are sufficient for detection in aquatic environments, in spite of the dilution. The relevance of these tools has thus already been confirmed for surface water to which wastewater-treatment or farm effluents are discharged. They will be tested on the scale of an entire river basin for fresh water and in a coastal zone for bathing water. The persistence of these markers in environments is another important parameter for the traceability of faecal pollution that is also being studied in the lab to produce a true "toolbox" intended for the people involved in improving water quality. The simple, fast and reliable tools will put them in a position to meet the requirements of the new regulations addressing water monitoring and health risks.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cemagref. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cemagref. "Genetic and chemical markers to determine who contaminated the river. Was it a human, a pig or a cow?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708122337.htm>.
Cemagref. (2010, July 8). Genetic and chemical markers to determine who contaminated the river. Was it a human, a pig or a cow?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708122337.htm
Cemagref. "Genetic and chemical markers to determine who contaminated the river. Was it a human, a pig or a cow?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708122337.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins