Specificity and sensitivity evaluation of novel and existing Bacteroidales and Bifidobacteria-specific PCR assays on feces and sewage samples and their application for microbial source tracking in Ireland
O' Grady, Justin
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Dorai-Raj, S., Grady, J. O., & Colleran, E. (2009). Specificity and sensitivity evaluation of novel and existing Bacteroidales and Bifidobacteria-specific PCR assays on feces and sewage samples and their application for microbial source tracking in Ireland. Water Research, 43(19), 4980-4988.
Three novel ruminant-specific PCR assays, an existing ruminant-specific PCR assay and five existing human-specific PCR assays, which target 16S rDNA from Bacteroidales or Bifidobacteria, were evaluated. The assays were tested on DNA extracted from ruminant (n = 74), human (n = 59) and non-ruminant animal (n = 44) sewage/fecal samples collected in Ireland. The three novel PCR assays compared favourably to the existing ruminant-specific assay, exhibiting sensitivities of 91 - 100% and specificities of 95 - 100% as compared to a sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 94%, for the existing ruminant-specific assay. Of the five human-specific PCR assays, the assay targeting the Bifidobacterium catenulatum group was the most promising, exhibiting a sensitivity of 100% (with human sewage samples) and a specificity of 87%. When tested on rural water samples that were naturally contaminated by ruminant feces, the three novel PCR assays tested positive with a much greater percentage (52 - 87%) of samples than the existing ruminant-specific assay (17%). These novel ruminant-specific assays show promise for microbial source tracking and merit further field testing and specificity evaluation.