Lauren Brooks (Kate Field lab; OSU Microbiology) studied the rate of degradation of agricultural fecal input in a water body and the microbial communities responsible for that breakdown. Microbial Source Tracing (MST) is an attempt to determine non-point sources of fecal contamination. A major limitation to implementation of this field is the poor understanding of persistence of pathogens and indicator bacteria in the environment. The study tested the rate at which agricultural fecal contamination is broken down by microbes in water bodies like rivers and ponds. The research originally stemmed from a concern that there was not always an effective way to differentiate between the sources of fecal contamination. The data has been used to develop a ratio model which will be useful for allocation of pollutant sources leading to targeted pollution mitigation efforts.
Brooks, L.E. and Field, K.G. 2016. Bayesian meta-analysis to synthesize decay rate constant estimates for common fecal indicator bacteria. Water Res. 104.
Brooks, L.E. and Field, K.G. 2017. Global model fitting to compare survival curves for faecal indicator bacteria and ruminant-associated genetic markers. J. Appl. Microbiol. ????