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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Jun;23(3):422-30. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.11.016. Epub 2011 Dec 5.

Detection of pathogens in water: from phylochips to qPCR to pyrosequencing.

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Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, 13 Natural Resources, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States.


Waterborne pathogens pose a significant threat to human health and a proper assessment of microbial water quality is important for decision making regarding water infrastructure and treatment investments and eventually to provide early warning of disease, particularly given increasing global disasters associated with severe public health risks. Microbial water quality monitoring has undergone tremendous transition in recent years, with novel molecular tools beginning to offer rapid, high-throughput, sensitive and specific detection of a wide spectrum of microbial pathogens that challenge traditional culture-based techniques. High-density microarrays, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and pyrosequencing which are considered to be breakthrough technologies borne out of the 'molecular revolution' are at present emerging rapidly as tools of pathogen detection and discovery. Future challenges lie in integrating these molecular tools with concentration techniques and bioinformatics platforms for unbiased guide of pathogen surveillance in water and developing standardized protocols.

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