Performance characteristics of qPCR assays targeting human- and ruminant-associated bacteroidetes for microbial source tracking across sixteen countries on six continents

Georg H. Reischer*, James E. Ebdon, Johanna M. Bauer, Nathalie Schuster, Warish Ahmed, Johan Åström, Anicet R. Blanch, Günter Blöschl, Denis Byamukama, Tricia Coakley, Christobel Ferguson, Goraw Goshu, Gwangpyo Ko, Ana Maria De Roda Husman, Douglas Mushi, Ramiro Poma, Bandana Pradhan, Veronica Rajal, Margit A. Schade, Regina SommerHuw Taylor, Erika M. Toth, Virgil Vrajmasu, Stefan Wuertz, Robert L. MacH, Andreas H. Farnleitner

*Corresponding author for this work

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

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous quantitative PCR assays for microbial fecal source tracking (MST) have been developed and evaluated in recent years. Widespread application has been hindered by a lack of knowledge regarding the geographical stability and hence applicability of such methods beyond the regional level. This study assessed the performance of five previously reported quantitative PCR assays targeting human-, cattle-, or ruminant-associated Bacteroidetes populations on 280 human and animal fecal samples from 16 countries across six continents. The tested cattle-associated markers were shown to be ruminant-associated. The quantitative distributions of marker concentrations in target and nontarget samples proved to be essential for the assessment of assay performance and were used to establish a new metric for quantitative source-specificity. In general, this study demonstrates that stable target populations required for marker-based MST occur around the globe. Ruminant-associated marker concentrations were strongly correlated with total intestinal Bacteroidetes populations and with each other, indicating that the detected ruminant-associated populations seem to be part of the intestinal core microbiome of ruminants worldwide. Consequently tested ruminant-targeted assays appear to be suitable quantitative MST tools beyond the regional level while the targeted human-associated populations seem to be less prevalent and stable, suggesting potential for improvements in human-targeted methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8548-8556
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume47
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 06 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry

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