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J Microbiol Methods. 2006 Jul;66(1):1-20. Epub 2006 Apr 24.

Molecular techniques in wastewater: Understanding microbial communities, detecting pathogens, and real-time process control.

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Department of Chemistry and Biology, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria St. Toronto, ON, Canada M4B 2K3.


Traditionally, the detection of pathogens in water, wastewater, and other environmental samples is restricted by the ability to culture such organisms from complex environmental samples. During the last decade the use of molecular methods have supplied the means for examining microbial diversity and detecting specific organisms without the need for cultivation. The application of molecular techniques to the study of natural and engineered environmental systems has increased our insight into the vast diversity and interaction of microorganisms present in complex environments. In this paper, we will review the current and emerging molecular approaches for characterizing microbial community composition and structure in wastewater processes. Recent studies show that advances in microarray assays are increasing our capability of detecting hundreds and even thousands of DNA sequences simultaneously and rapidly. With the current progress in microfluidics and optoelectronics, the ability to automate a detection/identification system is now being realized. The status of such a system for wastewater monitoring is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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