Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Nov 15;38(22):6109-17.

Comparison of seven protocols to identify fecal contamination sources using Escherichia coli.

Author information

US Geological Survey, Columbus, Ohio 43229, USA.


Microbial source tracking (MST) uses various approaches to classify fecal-indicator microorganisms to source hosts. Reproducibility, accuracy, and robustness of seven phenotypic and genotypic MST protocols were evaluated by use of Escherichia coli from an eight-host library of known-source isolates and a separate, blinded challenge library. In reproducibility tests, measuring each protocol's ability to reclassify blinded replicates, only one (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis; PFGE) correctly classified all test replicates to host species; three protocols classified 48-62% correctly, and the remaining three classified fewer than 25% correctly. In accuracy tests, measuring each protocol's ability to correctly classify new isolates, ribotyping with EcoRI and PvuII approached 100% correctclassification but only 6% of isolates were classified; four of the other six protocols (antibiotic resistance analysis, PFGE, and two repetitive-element PCR protocols) achieved better than random accuracy rates when 30-100% of challenge isolates were classified. In robustness tests, measuring each protocol's ability to recognize isolates from nonlibrary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center