Current microbial source-tracking (MST) methods, employed to determine sources of fecal contamination in waterways, use molecular markers targeting host-associated bacteria in animal or human feces. However, there is a lack of knowledge about fecal microbiome composition in several animals and imperfect marker specificity and sensitivity. To overcome these issues, a community-based MST method has been developed. Here, we describe a study done in the Lake Superior–Saint Louis River estuary using SourceTracker, a program that calculates the source contribution to an environment. High-throughput DNA sequencing of microbiota from a diverse collection of fecal samples obtained from 11 types of animals (wild, agricultural, and domesticated) and treated effluent (n = 233) was used to generate a fecal library to perform community-based MST. Analysis of 319 fecal and environmental samples revealed that the community compositions in water and fecal samples were significantly different, allowing for the determinatio...
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© 2017 American Chemical Society.
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