Lachnospiraceae and Bacteroidales alternative fecal indicators reveal chronic human sewage contamination in an urban harbor.
ABSTRACT The complexity of fecal microbial communities and overlap among human and other animal sources have made it difficult to identify source-specific fecal indicator bacteria. However, the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies now provides increased sequencing power to resolve microbial community composition within and among environments. These data can be mined for information on source-specific phylotypes and/or assemblages of phylotypes (i.e., microbial signatures). We report the development of a new genetic marker for human fecal contamination identified through microbial pyrotag sequence analysis of the V6 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Sequence analysis of 37 sewage samples and comparison with database sequences revealed a human-associated phylotype within the Lachnospiraceae family, which was closely related to the genus Blautia. This phylotype, termed Lachno2, was on average the second most abundant fecal bacterial phylotype in sewage influent samples from Milwaukee, WI. We developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay for Lachno2 and used it along with the qPCR-based assays for human Bacteroidales (based on the HF183 genetic marker), total Bacteroidales spp., and enterococci and the conventional Escherichia coli and enterococci plate count assays to examine the prevalence of fecal and human fecal pollution in Milwaukee's harbor. Both the conventional fecal indicators and the human-associated indicators revealed chronic fecal pollution in the harbor, with significant increases following heavy rain events and combined sewer overflows. The two human-associated genetic marker abundances were tightly correlated in the harbor, a strong indication they target the same source (i.e., human sewage). Human adenoviruses were routinely detected under all conditions in the harbor, and the probability of their occurrence increased by 154% for every 10-fold increase in the human indicator concentration. Both Lachno2 and human Bacteroidales increased specificity to detect sewage compared to general indicators, and the relationship to a human pathogen group suggests that the use of these alternative indicators will improve assessments for human health risks in urban waters.
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ABSTRACT: Recreational waters impacted by fecal contamination have been linked to gastrointestinal illness in swimmer populations. To date, few epidemiologic studies examine the risk for swimming-related illnesses based upon simultaneous exposure to more than one microbial surrogate (e.g. culturable E. coli densities, genetic markers). We addressed this research gap by investigating the association between swimming-related illness frequency and water quality determined from multiple bacterial and viral genetic markers. Viral and bacterial genetic marker densities were determined from beach water samples collected over 23 weekend days and were quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). These genetic marker data were paired with previously determined human exposure data gathered as part of a cohort study carried out among beach users at East Fork Lake in Ohio, USA in 2009. Using previously unavailable genetic marker data in logistic regression models, single- and multi-marker/multi-water quality indicator approaches for predicting swimming-related illness were evaluated for associations with swimming-associated gastrointestinal illness. Data pertaining to genetic marker exposure and 8- or 9-day health outcomes were available for a total of 600 healthy susceptible swimmers, and with this population we observed a significant positive association between human adenovirus (HAdV) exposure and diarrhea (odds ratio = 1.6; 95% confidence interval: 1.1-2.3) as well as gastrointestinal illness (OR = 1.5; 95% CI: 1.0-2.2) upon adjusting for culturable E. coli densities in multivariable models. No significant associations between bacterial genetic markers and swimming-associated illness were observed. This study provides evidence that a combined measure of recreational water quality that simultaneously considers both bacterial and viral densities, particularly HAdV, may improve prediction of disease risk than a measure of a single agent in a beach environment likely influenced by nonpoint source human fecal contamination.PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e112029. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0112029 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Microbial source tracking is an area of research in which multiple approaches are used to identify the sources of elevated bacterial concentrations in recreational lakes and beaches. At our study location in Darwin, northern Australia, water quality in the harbor is generally good, however dry-season beach closures due to elevated Escherichia coli and enterococci counts are a cause for concern. The sources of these high bacteria counts are currently unknown. To address this, we sampled sewage outfalls, other potential inputs, such as urban rivers and drains, and surrounding beaches, and used genetic fingerprints from E. coli and enterococci communities, fecal markers and 454 pyrosequencing to track contamination sources. A sewage effluent outfall (Larrakeyah discharge) was a source of bacteria, including fecal bacteria that impacted nearby beaches. Two other treated effluent discharges did not appear to influence sites other than those directly adjacent. Several beaches contained fecal indicator bacteria that likely originated from urban rivers and creeks within the catchment. Generally, connectivity between the sites was observed within distinct geographical locations and it appeared that most of the bacterial contamination on Darwin beaches was confined to local sources.12/2014; 3(6). DOI:10.1002/mbo3.209
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ABSTRACT: Background The relationship between poor sanitation and the parasitic infection schistosomiasis is well-known, but still rarely investigated directly and quantitatively. In a Brazilian village we correlated the spatial concentration of human fecal contamination of its main river and the prevalence of schistosomiasis. Methods We validated three bacterial markers of contamination in this population by high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and qPCR of feces from local residents. The qPCR of genetic markers from the 16S rRNA gene of Bacteroides-Prevotella group, Bacteroides HF8 cluster, and Lachnospiraceae Lachno2 cluster as well as sequencing was performed on georeferenced samples of river water. Ninety-six percent of residents were examined for schistosomiasis. Findings Sequence of 16S rRNA DNA from stool samples validated the relative human specificity of the HF8 and Lachno 2 fecal indicators compared to animals. The concentration of fecal contamination increased markedly along the river as it passed an increasing proportion of the population on its way downstream as did the sequence reads from bacterial families associated with human feces. Lachnospiraceae provided the most robust signal of human fecal contamination. The prevalence of schistosomiasis likewise increased downstream. Using a linear regression model, a significant correlation was demonstrated between the prevalence of S. mansoni infection and local concentration of human fecal contamination based on the Lachnospiraceae Lachno2 cluster (r2 0.53) as compared to the correlation with the general fecal marker E. coli (r2 0.28). Interpretation Fecal contamination in rivers has a downstream cumulative effect. The transmission of schistosomiasis correlates with very local factors probably resulting from the distribution of human fecal contamination, the limited movement of snails, and the frequency of water contact near the home. In endemic regions, the combined use of human associated bacterial markers and GIS analysis can quantitatively identify areas with risk for schistosomiasis as well as assess the efficacy of sanitation and environmental interventions for prevention.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10/2014; 8(10):e3186. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003186 · 4.49 Impact Factor