Source Molecular Corporation’s participation in a microbial source tracking (MST) project in Ontario, Canada, was mentioned in a publication released early this year by Georgian Bay Forever, a charity dedicated to scientific research and public education on Georgian Bay’s aquatic ecosystem.-endpar-
The publication, featured on its website GeorgianBayForever.org, is entitled “Modifications and Findings of the Township of Georgian Bay Coastal Monitoring Program, Bacteriological Testing — An assessment of Microbial Source Tracking to identify the presence and source of microbial contamination in recreational waters.”
David Sweetnam, executive director of Georgian Bay Forever, related that the Township of Georgian Bay wanted to confirm concerns of potential septic contamination in developed areas of Honey Harbour through MST, which uses quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to analyze and determine if the fecal bacteria in the water body came from humans or animals.
According to Mr. Sweetnam, in Ontario, total coliforms (TC) and e.Coli (EC) are used as surrogate measures of fecal contamination. “Their presence is used as an indicator of fecal contamination but is not directly a measure of the presence of human pathogens or a direct indicator of health issues.”
Mr. Sweetnam noted that MST has been used as a tool for municipalities and health authorities to identify the source of the pollution and, as a result, MST has enabled water managers to make better decisions and implement appropriate remediation actions and preventative measures.
Samples were taken at various sites at Honey Harbour in 2014. Source Molecular conducted the MST analysis for the group and reported that no Human, Dog or Bird DNA was detectable in any of the samples collected. “According to the lab technician, this means that even if EC or TC were present below the health criteria concentrations, they are likely from a naturally occurring source and not of human, bird or dog origin,” Mr. Sweetnam explained.
Based on the results, it was concluded that the waters are pristine and did not contain detectable bacterial contamination from the sources suspected. But Mr. Sweetnam acknowledged that “MST is a useful qualitative and quantitative new tool that may be applied in future testing to aid in the identification and source of potential microbial contamination.”
Source Molecular has assisted hundreds of water managers in the U.S. and Canada who are dealing with pathogenic water pollution problems. Its laboratory can detect fecal contamination from 13 hosts — Human, Cattle, Chicken, Dog, Swine, Gull, Goose, Deer, Elk, Horse, Bird, Beaver and Ruminant.
Click on the picture below to view Georgian Bay Forever’s featured publication on Microbial Source Tracking: