Newton RJ, Bootsma MJ, Morrison HG, Sogin ML, McLellan SL.. A microbial signature approach to identify fecal pollution in the waters off an urbanized coast of Lake Michigan. Microb Ecol 65: 1011-1023

Great Lakes WATER Institute, School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 600 E. Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI, 53204, USA.
Microbial Ecology (Impact Factor: 3.12). 03/2013; 65(4). DOI: 10.1007/s00248-013-0200-9
Source: PubMed


Urban coasts receive watershed drainage from ecosystems that include highly developed lands with sewer and stormwater infrastructure. In these complex ecosystems, coastal waters are often contaminated with fecal pollution, where multiple delivery mechanisms that often contain multiple fecal sources make it difficult to mitigate the pollution. Here, we exploit bacterial community sequencing of the V6 and V6V4 hypervariable regions of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to identify bacterial distributions that signal the presence of sewer, fecal, and human fecal pollution. The sequences classified to three sewer infrastructure-associated bacterial genera, Acinetobacter, Arcobacter, and Trichococcus, and five fecal-associated bacterial families, Bacteroidaceae, Porphyromonadaceae, Clostridiaceae, Lachnospiraceae, and Ruminococcaceae, served as signatures of sewer and fecal contamination, respectively. The human fecal signature was determined with the Bayesian source estimation program SourceTracker, which we applied to a set of 40 sewage influent samples collected in Milwaukee, WI, USA to identify operational taxonomic units (≥97 % identity) that were most likely of human fecal origin. During periods of dry weather, the magnitudes of all three signatures were relatively low in Milwaukee's urban rivers and harbor and nearly zero in Lake Michigan. However, the relative contribution of the sewer and fecal signature frequently increased to >2 % of the measured surface water communities following sewer overflows. Also during combined sewer overflows, the ratio of the human fecal pollution signature to the fecal pollution signature in surface waters was generally close to that of sewage, but this ratio decreased dramatically during dry weather and rain events, suggesting that nonhuman fecal pollution was the dominant source during these weather-driven scenarios. The qPCR detection of two human fecal indicators, human Bacteroides and Lachno2, confirmed the urban fecal footprint in this ecosystem extends to at least 8 km offshore.

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    • " et al . , 2011 ) . Analysis of profiles of microbial SSU rRNA genes ( V4 / V6 regions ) with a source estimation program employing Bayesian statistics ( SourceTracker ) allowed identification of human fecal and sewage signatures which correlated to the distribution of human - source markers Lachno2 and HF183 along the coastline of Lake Michigan ( Newton et al . , 2013 ) . Use of bacterial taxonomic groups identified through NGS - based surveys as alternative indicators may be site - specific as several studies have shown that the microbial composition in different sewer systems can differ according to several instances : origin of the waste materials ( Ye and Zhang , 2013 ) , climatic variations due "
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    ABSTRACT: Water quality is an emergent property of a complex system comprised of interacting microbial populations and introduced microbial and chemical contaminants. Studies leveraging next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are providing new insights into the ecology of microbially mediated processes that influence fresh water quality such as algal blooms, contaminant biodegradation, and pathogen dissemination. In addition, sequencing methods targeting small subunit (SSU) rRNA hypervariable regions have allowed identification of signature microbial species that serve as bioindicators for sewage contamination in these environments. Beyond amplicon sequencing, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses of microbial communities in fresh water environments reveal the genetic capabilities and interplay of waterborne microorganisms, shedding light on the mechanisms for production and biodegradation of toxins and other contaminants. This review discusses the challenges and benefits of applying NGS-based methods to water quality research and assessment. We will consider the suitability and biases inherent in the application of NGS as a screening tool for assessment of biological risks and discuss the potential and limitations for direct quantitative interpretation of NGS data. Secondly, we will examine case studies from recent literature where NGS based methods have been applied to topics in water quality assessment, including development of bioindicators for sewage pollution and microbial source tracking, characterizing the distribution of toxin and antibiotic resistance genes in water samples, and investigating mechanisms of biodegradation of harmful pollutants that threaten water quality. Finally, we provide a short review of emerging NGS platforms and their potential applications to the next generation of water quality assessment tools.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "See Figure 1 for a sample map of the collection locations and Supplementary Table 1 for sample metadata. Samples collected in 2008–2010 were described previously (Newton et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Water quality is impacted significantly by urbanization. The delivery of increased nutrient loads to waterways is a primary characteristic of this land use change. Despite the recognized effects of nutrient loading on aquatic systems, the influence of urbanization on the bacterial community composition of these systems is not understood. We used massively-parallel sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to examine the bacterial assemblages in transect samples spanning the heavily urbanized estuary of Milwaukee, WI to the relatively un-impacted waters of Lake Michigan. With this approach, we found that genera and lineages common to freshwater lake epilimnia were common and abundant in both the high nutrient, urban-impacted waterways, and the low nutrient Lake Michigan. Although the two environments harbored many taxa in common, we identified a significant change in the community assemblage across the urban-influence gradient, and three distinct community features drove this change. First, we found the urban-influenced waterways harbored significantly greater bacterial richness and diversity than Lake Michigan (i.e., taxa augmentation). Second, we identified a shift in the relative abundance among common freshwater lineages, where acI, acTH1, Algoriphagus and LD12, had decreased representation and Limnohabitans, Polynucleobacter, and Rhodobacter had increased representation in the urban estuary. Third, by oligotyping 18 common freshwater genera/lineages, we found that oligotypes (highly resolved sequence clusters) within many of these genera/lineages had opposite preferences for the two environments. With these data, we suggest many of the defined cosmopolitan freshwater genera/lineages contain both oligotroph and more copiotroph species or populations, promoting the idea that within-genus lifestyle specialization, in addition to shifts in the dominance among core taxa and taxa augmentation, drive bacterial community change in urbanized waters.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Frontiers in Microbiology
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    • "While there is a growing body of research for tracking pathogens and faecal indicators in the environment using molecular techniques (e.g. Benami et al. 2013; Marti et al. 2013; Newton et al. 2013), there are very few studies that have employed these techniques as tracers to understand recharge pathways in the subsurface (Hunt et al. 2010; Hunt et al. 2014). An emerging approach for detecting faecal contamination in drinking water is tryptophan-like fluorescence (TLF). "
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    ABSTRACT: Quantitative PCR (qPCR) can rapidly screen for an array of faecally-derived bacteria, which can be employed as tracers to understand groundwater vulnerability to faecal contamination. A microbial DNA qPCR array was used to examine 45 bacterial targets, potentially relating to enteric pathogens, in 22 groundwater supplies beneath the city of Kabwe, Zambia in both the dry and subsequent wet season. Thermotolerant (faecal) coliforms, sanitary risks, and tryptophan-like fluorescence, an emerging real-time reagentless faecal indicator, were also concurrently investigated. There was evidence for the presence of enteric bacterial contamination, through the detection of species and group specific 16S rRNA gene fragments, in 72% of supplies where sufficient DNA was available for qPCR analysis. DNA from the opportunistic pathogen Citrobacter freundii was most prevalent (69% analysed samples), with Vibrio cholerae also perennially persistent in groundwater (41% analysed samples). DNA from other species such as Bifidobacterium longum and Arcobacter butzleri was more seasonally transient. Bacterial DNA markers were most common in shallow hand-dug wells in laterite/saprolite implicating rapid subsurface pathways and vulnerability to pollution at the surface. Boreholes into the underlying dolomites were also contaminated beneath the city highlighting that a laterite/saprolite overburden, as occurs across much of sub-Saharan aquifer, does not adequately protect underlying bedrock groundwater resources. Nevertheless, peri-urban boreholes all tested negative establishing there is limited subsurface lateral transport of enteric bacteria outside the city limits. Thermotolerant coliforms were present in 97% of sites contaminated with enteric bacterial DNA markers. Furthermore, tryptophan-like fluorescence was also demonstrated as an effective indicator and was in excess of 1.4μg/L in all contaminated sites.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Science of The Total Environment
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