Verification of Bacteroidetes Microbial Source Tracking with Emperical Ground Truth Data
ISBN: 1 84057 527 1
This study reports a 'field-scale' test of the emerging technique of microbial source tracking (MST). The project acquired 'ground-truth' data to test the operational utility of Bacteroidetes MST data. The work has resulted in a very significant data set which is believed to be the largest collected to-date world-wide. This allows a comparison of Bacteroidetes MST data with standard faecal indicator organism (FIO) concentrations in streams, effluents and bathing waters.
The study illustrated the need for any sampling programme to be designed to measure and characterise extreme temporal and spatial variability. Furthermore, it is imperative that the Bacteroidetes MST signal of any industrial discharge is fully understood prior to the interpretation of results from bathing beaches.
At this stage in the development of this tool, it would be imprudent to use the percentage human and/or ruminant contributions, as indicated by MST data acquired for a bathing water, as the sole or principal element in the evidence-base used to guide major expenditure decisions and/or regulatory action.