One of the most important types of testing performed in environmental laboratories is discovering the levels of microorganisms in air, water and soil. Microbiologists perform tests to track the sources of various microorganisms based on a specific testing protocol. When the results of these tests exceed protocol specifications, steps are taken to locate the sources. For example, an environmental testing laboratory may perform tests on water that show high levels of fecal matter. When fecal matter in drinking water exceeds levels allowed in protocol specifications, it is imperative that the source be found and tracked. Microbial source tracking is method by which microbiologists can determine these sources of fecal matter indicated in bacteria in testing samples. The top fecal indicators in microbial source tracking include:
. E coli
. C Perfringens
. Enterococcus spp
. Bifidobacterium spp
Methods Used for Microbial Source Tracking
The microbial source tracking is done using sero grouping of microorganisms, MAR analysis to differentiate bacterium, genotypic pulsed field gel electro phoresis (PFGE), ribotyping and chemicals like coprostanol.
Five Important Facts about Microbial Source Tracking
To the general public, five important facts about microbial source tracking are primary to maintaining standards of public health. These include:
1. Continuing research into methods to discover sources of fecal matter in the environment
2. Creating research templates of viruses and pathogens that may be source indicators useful for microbial source tracking
3. Increased effort to develop newer, more concise technologies
4. Relationship of microbial sources between watersheds and municipal water treatment plants
5. Elevating water quality for the health and safety of humans and animals
One of the newest methods that are a breakthrough in microbial source tracking is the use of biosensors, gene chips and micro arrays that help detection through greater specificity. Creating research templates of known viruses and pathogens that may occur in water as source indicators can make the process of microbial source tracking rapidly detectable. As technologies develop in research and testing, data driven results accelerate the availability of connecting tracking to defined sources. One of the five important facts about microbial source tracking relating sources to watersheds and local municipal water treatment plants. For example, if fecal matter is discovered in higher levels at the water treatment plant, source data collected prior to the discovery hastens the process of linking fecal matter to the source at the watershed.
Elevating Water Quality for the Health and Safety of Humans and Animals
When water is contaminated with fecal matter, it is imperative to use the most sophisticated methods of microbial source tracking in the timeliest manner. The health and safety of humans and animals depends on quick response time in order to elevate water quality.