Developing a procedure and tools that utilize genetic markers to identify fecal contamination sources in waterways

Caroline Côté, researcher

Caroline Côté

Researcher

450 653-7368
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Contact Caroline Côté

Description

Fecal contamination of the environment poses a potential public health risk and contributes to increased water treatment costs. Although some indices may be able to target potential contamination sources, the origin of the contamination is often hard to pin down. This makes it a challenge to come up with detection tools to use in protecting and restoring contaminated water bodies and to access objective data in the event of water quality disputes. This project will develop a procedure that relies on genetic markers to identify the animal species responsible for fecal contamination. By identifying contamination sources, we will be able to formulate recommendations, along with a specific and effective regulatory framework. In addition, this information will be available to inspectors as scientific evidence in legal proceedings.

Objective(s)

  • Conduct a literature review of genetic markers that can be used to target fecal contamination originating from a variety of animal species.
  • Determine the detection and quantification limits for the markers selected.
  • Document the impact of manure/slurry storage conditions on the markers.
  • Measure the relative contributions of the markers in water under controlled conditions.
  • Characterize the persistence of these markers in the environment.
  • Validate this method under real-life conditions found at watersheds.

From 2019 to 2023

Project duration

Livestock production

Activity areas

Water protection, Environmental regulations

Services

The procedure will be used to identify the animal species that contribute to waterway contamination.

Partner

Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques

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