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Water Res. 2009 Nov;43(19):4872-7. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.08.042. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

Evaluation of multiple sewage-associated Bacteroides PCR markers for sewage pollution tracking.

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Department of Natural Resources and Water, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Sunshine Coast, QLD 4558, Brisbane 4068, Australia.


The host specificity of the five published sewage-associated Bacteroides markers (i.e., HF183, BacHum, HuBac, BacH and Human-Bac) was evaluated in Southeast Queensland, Australia by testing fecal DNA samples (n=186) from 11 animal species including human fecal samples collected via influent to a sewage treatment plant (STP). All human fecal samples (n=50) were positive for all five markers indicating 100% sensitivity of these markers. The overall specificity of the HF183 markers to differentiate between humans and animals was 99%. The specificities of the BacHum and BacH markers were>94%, suggesting that these markers are suitable for the detection of sewage pollution in environmental waters in Australia. The HuBac (i.e., 63%) and Human-Bac (i.e., 79% specificity) markers performed poorly in distinguishing between the sources of human and animal fecal samples. It is recommended that the specificity of the sewage-associated markers must be rigorously tested prior to its application to identify the sources of fecal pollution in environmental waters.

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