Evaluation of human fecal pollution in Mississippi coastal and creek waters using library independent markers

Christopher John Flood, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine whether statistically valid correlations could be elucidated between standard indicator bacteria (enterococci and fecal coliforms) from coastal creek and marine samples and the presence of four library independent molecular markers that are human or sewage specific. Eight hundred and nineteen samples were collected between August 2007 and July 2010 to determine enterococcal and fecal coliform counts and the presence of genetic markers for sewage indicator organisms Methanobrevibacter smithii, human specific Bacteroides sp., Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, and Fecalibacterium sp. During the course of this study environmental parameters were measured and statistically analyzed to determine if there was any correlation for the presence of any one of these organisms and the environmental variables.