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E-M:/ Testing to identify E coli contamination

As noted earlier in the discussion of possible CAFO contamination, it is important to have an evidence-based approach to see if the contamination came from CAFOs. There are more specific ways to do this than simply monitoring total coliform bacteria, although such total coliform tests are an important first step in detecting a problem.


Here are titles of some articles reviewing recent research in this area. Go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/

and enter the “PMID” number in the query box for a link to the abstract of the articles. The last three articles have links to the full text.


There are commercial companies providing assays similar to the ones described. To find some, try Googling CAFO, E coli, PCR


If interested in a copy of the articles 1 or 3 listed below, drop me an email and I will send it (but maybe not this week – we have two job candidates visiting).


I certainly hope the DEQ is using the best science available to check for sources of fecal contamination.


John Rebers

Department of Biology

Northern Michigan University


 1:  Simpson JM, Santo Domingo JW, Reasoner DJ.

 Microbial source tracking: state of the science.

Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Dec 15;36(24):5279-88. Review.

PMID: 12521151 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


2:  Rompre A, Servais P, Baudart J, de-Roubin MR, Laurent P.

 Detection and enumeration of coliforms in drinking water: current methods and

emerging approaches.

J Microbiol Methods. 2002 Mar;49(1):31-54. Review.

PMID: 11777581 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


3:  Meyer KJ, Appletoft CM, Schwemm AK, Uzoigwe JC, Brown EJ.

 Determining the source of fecal contamination in recreational waters.

J Environ Health. 2005 Jul-Aug;68(1):25-30.

PMID: 16121484 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


4:  Meays CL, Broersma K, Nordin R, Mazumder A.

 Source tracking fecal bacteria in water: a critical review of current methods.

J Environ Manage. 2004 Oct;73(1):71-9. Review.

PMID: 15327848 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


5:  Field KG, Bernhard AE, Brodeur TJ.

 Molecular approaches to microbiological monitoring: fecal source detection.

Environ Monit Assess. 2003 Jan-Feb;81(1-3):313-26.

PMID: 12620024 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


6:  Ram JL, Ritchie RP, Fang J, Gonzales FS, Selegean JP.

 Sequence-based source tracking of Escherichia coli based on genetic diversity

of beta-glucuronidase.

J Environ Qual. 2004 May-Jun;33(3):1024-32.

PMID: 15224940 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


7:  Johnson LK, Brown MB, Carruthers EA, Ferguson JA, Dombek PE, Sadowsky MJ.

 Sample size, library composition, and genotypic diversity among natural

populations of Escherichia coli from different animals influence accuracy of

determining sources of fecal pollution.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Aug;70(8):4478-85.

PMID: 15294775 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


8:  McLellan SL, Daniels AD, Salmore AK.

 Genetic characterization of Escherichia coli populations from host sources of

fecal pollution by using DNA fingerprinting.

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 May;69(5):2587-94.

PMID: 12732525 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]