Bacterial Source - Tracking and Total Maximum Daily Load Research Paper by Nicky

A research and analysis of the function of Microbial Source Tracking (MST), and its use in identifying the sources of water contaminants.
# 145434 | 2,292 words | 7 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 08, 2010 in Biology (Molecular and Cell) , Environmental Studies (Management)

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This paper focuses on Microbial Source Tracking (MST), asserting that the practice lacks an appropriate methodology for tracing bacterial contamination in the environment, which may negatively affect decision-making in water quality management. However, the paper posits, bacterial source tracking (BST) in measurement of the TMDL is effective and efficient, although it is not well researched at this juncture; thus far uses of BST in measuring the TMDL of fecal coli form shows great promise for reduction of water fecal pollution levels through tracking and targeting host animals and location sites of the pollutants. The paper concludes that problems remain in that the host origins for BST may not be universally applicable, due to geographical limitations; more research is needed and reported in the literature to be forthcoming in the near future. This paper contains illustrative data tables.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Summary and Conclusion

From the Paper:

"Water, when contaminated with feces, has the potential to negatively impact humans both in terms of their health as well as having economic impacts. Healthwise, it is understood that water with a high level of fecal bacteria is "likely to contain pathogenic bacteria" which will make human beings very sick. Economically speaking, water that becomes reportedly unclean will impact the economics of individuals residing in or near that area because losses in the tourist industry are severely felt when unclean waters are noted as being such. According to Washington State University - College of Veterinary Medicine in the work entitled: "Microarray Lab-Microbial Source Tracking' that water quality specialist use MST in tracking fecal microbes to the host animal and it is expected that management and mitigation efforts may be effectively designed toward the reduction of fecal flora in surface waters. Additionally, it is hoped that the identification of the "primary sources of fecal contamination may help to refine estimates of the human health risk posed by various sources of fecal contamination." (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007) There have been various markers proposed for MST which are classified broadly as either 'library-dependent' methods or library independent methods. These patterns may be utilized in the derivation of a "classification function that I s then used to putatively identify the host animals from which the fecal flora originated." (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007) Stated to be inclusive in the library-dependent method challenges is a need for construction of a massive library prior to work actually beginning. (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007) Library-independent methods result in the need for markers or microbes or genes that "are specific to a given animal. Assuming these markers are functionally linked to the host animals, then the markers should be spatially and temporally stable. Challenges include the ability to identify suitable markers. Both library-dependent and library-independent methods require thorough validation." (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007) Challenges are stated to be inclusive of "....the ability to identify suitable markers. Both library-dependent and library-independent methods require thorough validation." (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007) It is stated that no matter which method is appointed for MST there are two basic and inherent assumptions to the effectiveness of these methods which include: (1) Host-specificity exists and is detectable; and (2) The proportion of any given marker is constant in the environment: (a) No differential loss; (b) No significant environmental replication; and (c) No significant environmental reservoirs. (Soule, Loge, and Gay, 2007)"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Kern, J., et al (2002) Bacterial Source Tracking in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Process. American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers. Environmental regulations Proceedings of the March 11-13 2002 Conference, Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Bacterial Source Tracking (BST) CREES Southern Regional Water Quality Program. The University of Georgia. Online available at:
  • Bernstein, Brock B., Griffith, J.F., and Weisberg, S.B. (2002) Microbiological Source Tracking Workshop: Workgroup Findings and Recommendations. Online available at:
  • Soule, Marilyn, Loge, Frank and Gay, John (2007) Microarray Lab - Microbial Source Tracking, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology (VMP) Washington State University. Online available at:
  • Hagedorn, Charles (2001) Bacterial Source Tracking Methodology (BST): Update as of March 20021. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech University. Crop and Soil Environmental News, March 20001.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Bacterial Source - Tracking and Total Maximum Daily Load (2010, November 08) Retrieved December 03, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Bacterial Source - Tracking and Total Maximum Daily Load" 08 November 2010. Web. 03 December. 2021. <>