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Faecal source tracking

Implementing pathogen management plans is not easy when contamination can come from so many potential sources and you are unable to identify the exact source.

While traditional culture-based methods only tell you if and when faecal contamination is present, our DNA ‘fingerprinting’ methods will identify the exact animal species causing the pollution in a water source. Using next-generation sequencing, we can identify the source of faecal contamination in water sources ranging from reservoirs to bores.

E. coli whole genome sequencing (WGS) allows us to fingerprint isolates for faecal source tracking, and to identify bloom-forming and potentially pathogenic E. coli.

WGS involves the examination of multiple E. coli genes. The method developed by the AWQC includes the Achtman loci in addition to a further 157 genomic regions, allowing the identification of more than 4499 E. coli sequence types.

This unique identification of isolates (equivalent to a DNA fingerprint) allows E. coli WGS to be used for tracking and monitoring E. coli presence over time at a single location, or E. coli isolate movement through a water distribution network or water body.