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Factors affecting the presence of human-associated and fecal indicator real-time quantitative PCR genetic markers in urban-impacted recreational beaches
Molina, M., S. Hunter, Mike Cyterski, L. Peed, C. Kelty, M. Sivaganesan, T. Mooney, L. Prieto, AND O. Shanks. Factors affecting the presence of human-associated and fecal indicator real-time quantitative PCR genetic markers in urban-impacted recreational beaches. WATER RESEARCH. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 64:196-208, (2014).
Urban runoff can carry a variety of pollutants into recreational beaches, often including bacterial pathogens and indicators of fecal contamination. To develop complete recreational criteria and risk assessments, it is necessary to understand conditions under which human contamination could be present at beaches solely impacted by urban runoff. Accurately estimating risk requires understanding sources, concentrations, and transport mechanisms of microbial contaminants in these environments. By applying microbial source tracking methods and empirical modeling, we assessed the presence and level of human contamination at urban runoff impacted recreational beaches. We also identified environmental parameters and pollution sources that can influence the concentration and transport of culturable and molecular fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in systems impacted solely by urban runoff. Water samples and physico–chemical parameters were collected from shoreline locations from three South Carolina (SC) beaches (five locations per beach) and two Florida (FL) beaches (three locations per beach). Each SC beach was directly impacted by swashes or tidal creeks receiving stormwater runoff from the urbanized area and therefore were designated as swash drain associated (SDA) beaches, while FL beaches were designated as non-swash drain associated (NSDA). Sampling in swash drains (SD; three sites per SD) directly impacting each SC beach was also conducted. Results indicate that although culturable (enterococci) and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) (EC23S857, Entero1, and GenBac3) FIB concentrations were, on average, higher at SD locations, SDA beaches did not have consistently higher molecular FIB signals compared to NSDA beaches. Both human-associated markers (HF183 and HumM2) were concomitantly found only at SDA beaches. Bacteroidales species-specific qPCR markers (BsteriF1 and BuniF2) identified differences in the Bacteroidales community, depending on beach type. The marker for general Bacteroidales was most abundant at SD locations and exhibited a high correlation with both culturable and other molecular markers. Combining molecular information with predictive modeling allowed us to identify both alongshore movement of currents and SD outflow as significant influences on the concentration of molecular and culturable indicators in the bathing zone. Data also suggests that combining methodologies is a useful and cost effective approach to help understand transport dynamics of fecal contamination and identify potential sources of contamination at marine beaches.
Journal article published in Water Research
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB
ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION