Application of a microbial source tracking based on bacterial and chemical markers in headwater and coastal catchments

Abstract : This study identified sources of fecal contamination in three different French headwater and coastal catchments (the Justiçou, Pen an Traon, and La Fresnaye) using a combination of microbial source tracking tools. The tools included bacterial markers (three host-associated Bacteroidales) and chemical markers (six fecal stanols), which were monitored monthly over one or two years in addition to fecal indicator bacteria. 168 of the 240 freshwater and marine water samples had Escherichia coli (E. coli) or enterococci concentrations higher than “excellent” European water quality threshold. In the three catchments, the results suggested that the fecal contamination appeared to be primarily from an animal origin and particularly from a bovine origin in 52% (Rum2Bac) and 46% (Bstanol) of the samples and to a lesser extent from a porcine origin in 19% (Pig2Bac) and 21% (Pstanol) of the samples. Our results suggested a human fecal contamination in 56% (HF183) and 32% (Hstanol) of the samples. Rainfall also impacted the source identification of microbial contamination. In general, these findings could inform effective implementation of microbial source tracking strategies, specifically that the location of sampling points must include variability at the landscape scale.
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Emilie Jardé, Laurent Jeanneau, Loïc Harrault, Emmanuelle Quenot, Olivia Solecki, et al.. Application of a microbial source tracking based on bacterial and chemical markers in headwater and coastal catchments. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2018, 610-611, pp.55-63. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.07.235⟩. ⟨insu-01574743⟩

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