An influx of concentrated animal feeding operations in northwest Ohio has prompted local agencies to examine the effects of these industrial farms on water quality in the upper Portage River watershed. The utility of microbial source-tracking (MST) tools as a means of characterizing sources of fecal contamination in the watershed was evaluated. From 2007 to 2008, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Bowling Green State University, and the Wood County Health Department collected and analyzed 17 environmental samples and 13 fecal source samples for Bacteroides-based host-associated DNA markers. At many of the environmental sites tested, MST marker results corroborated the presumptive fecal contamination sources. Results from this demonstration study support the utility of using MST with host-specific molecular markers to characterize the sources of fecal contamination in the Portage River watershed.
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USGS Numbered Series
Utility of Microbial Source-Tracking Markers for Assessing Fecal Contamination in the Portage River Watershed, Northwestern Ohio, 2008