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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2004 Jan 1;47(1):65-75. doi: 10.1016/S0168-6496(03)00250-2.

Assessment of equine fecal contamination: the search for alternative bacterial source-tracking targets.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA.


16S rDNA clone libraries were evaluated for detection of fecal source-identifying bacteria from a collapsed equine manure pile. Libraries were constructed using universal eubacterial primers and Bacteroides-Prevotella group-specific primers. Eubacterial sequences indicated that upstream and downstream water samples were predominantly beta- and gamma-Proteobacteria (35 and 19%, respectively), while the manure library consisted predominantly of Firmicutes (31%) and previously unidentified sequences (60%). Manure-specific eubacterial sequences were not detectable beyond 5 m downstream of the pile, suggesting either poor survival or high dilution rates. In contrast, Bacteroides and Prevotella sp. sequences were detected both in manure and downstream using group-specific primers. Novel sequences from Bacteroides and Prevotella analysis produced an equine-specific phylogenetic cluster as compared to previous data sets obtained for human and bovine samples. While these results suggest that some anaerobic fecal bacteria might be potential identifiers for use in source-tracking applications, a comprehensive examination of environmental sequences within these species should be performed before methods targeting these bacterial groups are applied to watersheds for development of microbial source-tracking protocols.

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