State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011MN291B
Title: Persistence of the fecal indicator Bacteroides in sand and sediment
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 7/01/2011
End Date: 6/30/2012
Congressional District: 5
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Wastewater, Sediments
Keywords: fecal indicator bacteria, Bacteroides, sand, sediments, Lake Superior, microbial source tracking
Principal Investigators: Sadowsky, Michael Jay; Hicks, Randall
Federal Funds: $ 20,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 40,400
Abstract: The objectives of this proposal are to measure the spatial distribution of human-specific Bacteroides and its persistence and growth in sand and sediment. Bacteroides is a commensal gut bacterium that is increasingly being used for determination of fecal contamination in recreational waters. Research has consistently shown that conventional fecal indicator organisms, such as Escherichia coli, do not accurately reflect fecal contamination due to their extended persistence and growth within soil and water environments. Bacteroides exhibits the traits of an ideal indicator of fecal pollution; however, the factors affecting the distribution and persistence of Bacteroides within sand and sediment have not yet been thoroughly studied. The specific objectives of this proposal are 1) to determine the seasonal distribution of Bacteroides in sand and sediment on a beach with continuous sewage effluent inputs; 2) examine the effects of temperature and moisture on Bacteroides persistence in sand and sediment; and 3) to assess the growth of degree of Bacteroides in sediment and its persistence relative to key bacterial pathogens and indicator organisms (E. coli and Enterococcus). Experimental microcosms combined with molecular methods, such as quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting the 16S rRNA gene, will be used to address each objective. The broad goal of this research is to assess the validity of Bacteroides as a fecal indicator bacterium in Minnesota waterways.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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