Characterization of fecal contamination targeting 16S rRNA bacteroides molecular markers in the Santa Cruz River, Arizona

Berenise Rivera, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Understanding the origins, transport and fate of contamination is essential to effective management of water resources and public health. Individuals and organizations with management responsibilities need to understand the risks to ecosystems and to humans from contact with contamination. Managers also need to understand how key contaminants vary over time and space in order to design and prioritize mitigation strategies. Tumacacori National Historic Park (NHP) is responsible for management of its water resources for the benefit of the park and for the health of its visitors. The existence of microbial contaminants in the park poses risks that must be considered in park planning and operations. The water quality laboratory at the Maricopa Agricultural Center (in collaboration with stakeholder groups and individuals located in the ADEQ-targeted watersheds) identified biological changes in surface water quality in impaired reaches rivers to determine the sources of Escherichia coli (E. coli); bacteria utilizing innovative water quality microbial/bacterial source tracking methods. The end goal was to support targeted watershed groups and ADEQ towards E. coli reductions. In the field monitoring was conducted by the selected targeted watershed groups in conjunction with The University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center Water Quality Laboratory. This consisted of collecting samples for Bacteroides testing from multiple locations on select impaired reaches, to determine contamination resulting from cattle, human recreation, and other contributions. Such testing was performed in conjunction with high flow and base flow conditions in order to accurately portray water quality conditions and variations. Microbial monitoring was conducted by The University of Arizona Water Quality Laboratory at the Maricopa Agricultural Center using genetic typing to differentiate among two categories of Bacteroides: human and all (total). Testing used microbial detection methodologies and molecular source tracking techniques.

Subject Area

Microbiology|Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Rivera, Berenise, "Characterization of fecal contamination targeting 16S rRNA bacteroides molecular markers in the Santa Cruz River, Arizona" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1497522.