Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2010 Start Date: 2010-03-01 End Date: 2011-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $7,800 Total Non-Federal Funds: $4,017
Principal Investigators: David Morris
Abstract: The Anacostia River is regularly inundated by sewage overflow and run-off pollution that contributes to the overall degradation of the river as well as posing a potential public health risk. Fecal pollution can be detected routinely using standard tests recommended by the American Public Health Authority (APHA) but recent studies have shown that multiple resistant coliforms in water samples is a more reliable indicator of pollution by human and animal sources. The prevalence of antibiotic resistance among coliforms is due to sewage contamination, the widespread commercial use of antibiotics, and the propensity for R-plasmid exchange in the gastro-intestinal systems of humans and animals and in stagnant bodies of wastewater. This proposal seeks to apply similar studies to point and non-point sources (PS and NPS) along the Anacostia River. The prevalence of antibiotic resistance among coliform isolates from all three sites is most likely the result of sewage contamination, the widespread commercial use of antibiotics, and the propensity for R-plasmid exchange in the gastro-intestinal systems of humans and animals and in stagnant bodies of wastewater. We argue that using MAR profiles of selected sites on the Anacostia (both PS and NPS) is a valuable tool for identifying and monitoring the sources of fecal contamination, and that this method may be useful in facilitating the management of not only the Anacostia, but also other local estuaries. The procedures described in the proposal are ideally suited for undergraduate student training and preliminary results have been obtained by students in the departments special honors program. Further student involvement will be encouraged by this project which will have the further benefit of focusing our students attention on the microbiological ecology of our national capital waterways.