When a community finds that water it relies on for drinking or recreation contains E. coli (Escherichia coli), a bacterium found in the feces of warm-blooded animals that indicates fecal contamination, residents and officials naturally want to find the cause and fix it -- quickly. But several testing methods using E. coli to identify the sources of fecal contamination were less accurate in field application than previously reported, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
The USGS-led study, done in cooperation with state and local government agencies and several universities and affiliated consultants, was among the first to test the accuracy of microbial source tracking methods against samples of known origin, called "challenge isolates." Scientists compared the accuracy of several source tracking tools in classifying E. coli strains to various sources (humans, dogs, geese, deer, horses, pigs, cows, and chickens).
When researchers sent E. coli challenge isolates (the sources of which were unknown to those conducting the tests) for testing, many isolates either remained unclassified or were classified to incorrect sources. In all, fewer than 30 percent of challenge isolates were classified to the correct source-animal species by any method.
Further research may lead to improvements in current source tracking methods or development of better methods. For the immediate future, researchers and end users would be prudent to use caution and to incorporate quality-control measures to validate the accuracy of source tracking results.
Donald Stoeckel | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences