Bacterial pathogen gene abundance and relation to recreational water quality at seven Great Lakes beaches

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 



Quantitative assessment of bacterial pathogens, their geographic variability, and distribution in various matrices at Great Lakes beaches are limited. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to test for genes from E. coli O157:H7 (eaeO157), shiga-toxin producing E. coli (stx2), Campylobacter jejuni (mapA), Shigella spp. (ipaH), and a Salmonella enterica-specific (SE) DNA sequence at seven Great Lakes beaches, in algae, water, and sediment. Overall, detection frequencies were mapA>stx2>ipaH>SE>eaeO157. Results were highly variable among beaches and matrices; some correlations with environmental conditions were observed for mapA, stx2, and ipaH detections. Beach seasonal mean mapA abundance in water was correlated with beach seasonal mean log10E. coli concentration. At one beach, stx2 gene abundance was positively correlated with concurrent daily E. coli concentrations. Concentration distributions for stx2, ipaH, and mapA within algae, sediment, and water were statistically different (Non-Detect and Data Analysis in R). Assuming 10, 50, or 100% of gene copies represented viable and presumably infective cells, a quantitative microbial risk assessment tool developed by Michigan State University indicated a moderate probability of illness for Campylobacter jejuni at the study beaches, especially where recreational water quality criteria were exceeded. Pathogen gene quantification may be useful for beach water quality management.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Bacterial pathogen gene abundance and relation to recreational water quality at seven Great Lakes beaches
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/es5038657
Volume 48
Issue 24
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher ACS Publications
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 14148
Last page 14157
Other Geospatial Great Lakes
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details