Methanobrevibacter ruminantium as an indicator of domesticated-ruminant fecal pollution in surface waters

Jennifer A. Ufnar
Shiao Y. Wang, University of Southern Mississippi
David F. Ufnar
R. D. Ellender, University of Southern Mississippi


A PCR-based assay (Mrnif) targeting the nifH gene of Methanobrevibacter ruminantium was developed to detect fecal pollution from domesticated ruminants in environmental water samples. The assay produced the expected amplification product only when the reaction mixture contained DNA extracted from M. ruminantium culture, bovine (80%), sheep (100%), and goat (75%) feces, and water samples from a bovine waste lagoon (100%) and a creek contaminated with bovine lagoon waste (100%). The assay appears to be specific and sensitive and can distinguish between domesticated- and nondomesticated-ruminant fecal pollution in environmental samples.