Understanding the fate of fecal pollution in the landscape is required for microbial risk analysis. The aim of this study was to assess the patterns and dynamics of beta-d-glucuronidase (GLUC), which has been suggested as a surrogate for fecal pollution monitoring, in a stream draining an agricultural headwater catchment. Automated enzymatic on-site measurements of stream water and sediments were made over two years (2014-2016) to quantify the sources and pathways of GLUC in a stream. The event water fraction of streamflow was estimated by stable isotopes. Samples from field sediments on a hillslope, streambed sediment and stream water were analyzed for GLUC and with a standard E. coli assay. The results showed ten times higher GLUC and E. coli concentrations during the summer than during the winter for all compartments (field and streambed sediments and stream water). The E. coli concentrations in the streambed sediment were approximately 100 times those of the field sediments. Of the total GLUC load in the study period, 39% were transported during hydrological events (increased streamflow due to rainfall or snowmelt); of these, 44% were transported when the stream contained no recent rainwater. The results suggested that a large proportion of the GLUC and E. coli in the stream water stemmed from resuspended streambed sediments. Moreover, the results strongly indicated the existence of remnant populations of GLUC-active organisms in the catchment.
- Bacterial Proteins/analysis
- Environmental Monitoring/instrumentation
- Escherichia coli/isolation & purification
- Escherichia coli Proteins/analysis
- Online Systems
- Water Microbiology
- Water Quality