Assessing the faecal source sensitivity and specificity of ruminant and human genetic microbial source tracking markers in the central Ethiopian highlands

R B Linke, G Kebede, D Mushi, A Lakew, D S Hayes, W Graf, A H Farnleitner

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study tested genetic microbial source tracking (MST) methods for identifying ruminant- (BacR) and human-associated (HF183/BacR287, BacHum) bacterial faecal contaminants in Ethiopia in a newly created regional faecal sample bank (n = 173). BacR performed well, and its marker abundance was high (100% sensitivity (Sens), 95% specificity (Spec), median log10 8·1 marker equivalents (ME) g-1 ruminant faeces). Human-associated markers tested were less abundant in individual human samples (median: log10 5·4 and 4·2 (ME + 1) g-1 ) and were not continuously detected (81% Sens, 91% Spec for BacHum; 77% Sens, 91% Spec for HF183/BacR287). Furthermore, the pig-associated Pig2Bac assay was included and performed excellent (100% Sens, 100% Spec). To evaluate the presence of MST targets in the soil microbiome, representative soil samples were tested during a whole seasonal cycle (n = 60). Only BacR could be detected, but was limited to the dry season and to sites of higher anthropogenic influence (log10 3·0 to 4·9 (ME + 1) g-1 soil). In conclusion, the large differences in marker abundances between target and non-target faecal samples (median distances between distributions ≥log10 3 to ≥log10 7) and their absence in pristine soil indicate that all tested assays are suitable candidates for diverse MST applications in the Ethiopian area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-466
Number of pages9
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Bacteroidetes/genetics
  • Environmental Monitoring/methods
  • Ethiopia
  • Feces/microbiology
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Ruminants/microbiology
  • Seasons
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Swine/microbiology
  • Water Microbiology

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