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Sunlight Inactivation of Human Polymerase Chain Reaction Markers and Cultured Fecal Indicators in River and Saline Waters

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ABSTRACT: 

Decay rates for sunlight inactivation of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) markers for total Bacteroidales, human-specific Bacteroidales, Escherichia coli , and Bifidobacterium adolescentis relative to cultured E. coli were investigated. The experiment used 100-L chambers of fresh water and seawater (paired with dark controls) seeded with human sewage and exposed to natural sunlight over three summer days. Culturable E. coli levels in sunlight-exposed chambers decreased by at least 3 logs on day 1, and by day 3 a total reduction of 4.5 to 5.5 logs was achieved in fresh water and seawater, respectively. In contrast, PCR detection of the four gene targets in sunlight-exposed chambers reduced by no more than 2 logs over the duration of the study (k t < 0.071 loge units h−1). Under these experimental conditions, PCR markers are considerably more conservative than culturable E. coli and can persist for extended periods of time following inactivation of E. coli .
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Keywords: Bacteroidales; Escherichia coli; PCR markers; river water; seawater; sunlight inactivation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-08-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research (WER) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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