Submitted to: Environmental Health
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2011
Publication Date: 1/25/2012
Citation: Furtula, V., Jackson, C.R., Osman, R., Chambers, P. 2012. Use of Enterococcus, BST and sterols as indicators for poultry pollution source tracking in surface and groundwater. In Oosthuizen, J., editors. Environmental Health-Emerging Issues and Practice. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech-Open Access. p. 57-78. Interpretive Summary: The enterococci are commensals of particular interest because they have been implicated in a number of clinical diseases and are known to harbor antimicrobial resistance. The habitat of enterococci not only includes the intestines of many animals, but also food and the environment. Their widespread nature along with their ability to survive in the environment and their propensity for antimicrobial resistance make the enterococci a candidate group for host attribution studies especially in aquatic environments where a variety of hosts may be contributing to fecal contamination. Fraser Valley in the province of British Columbia is considered the poultry capital of Canada. The poultry waste generated from the industry is used as fertilizer and spread onto the fields thus creating a non-point source run-off type of surface and groundwater pollution. Using Enterococcus, Bacterial Source Tracking (BST) and sterol analysis for pollution source identification from poultry sources, fecal contamination was detected in 100 percent of surface water and 15 percent of groundwater sites tested. Contribution from the poultry industry to surface water pollution was detected at nine sampling locations. Human fecal pollution was also detected at four surface water and one groundwater location. Researchers can use this information for source tracking environmental contamination and in designing strategies to reduce microbial contamination of the environment.
Technical Abstract: This study has applied Enterococcus, Bacterial Source Tracking (BST) and sterol analysis for pollution source identification from poultry sources. Fecal contamination was detected in 100% of surface water and 15% of groundwater sites tested. E. faecium was the dominant species in aged litter samples from poultry farms (72.4 -100%). E. faecalis (26.6%) and E. faecium (24.5%) accounted for the largest portions of environmental samples. In surface water, cholesterol, dihydrocholesterol, desmosterol, coprostanol and epicoprostanol were detected ranging from 0.275-7.710 µg/L, 0.022-1.040 µg/L and 0.031-1.119 µg/L, 0.006-0.086 µg/L, 0.006-0.086 µg/L respectively. The plant sterols campesterol, stigmasterol and ß-sitosterol were detected ranging from 0.044~1.692 µg/L, 0.072~2.928 µg/L and 0.361-10.072 µg/L, respectively. In groundwater samples, similar sterols were detected with the exception of coprostanol. Based on sterol analyses, seven ratios for detection of fecal contamination and four ratios for differentiating of sources of fecal contamination were calculated and combined with BST and Enterococcus data. Contribution from poultry industry to surface water pollution was detected at nine sampling locations. Human fecal pollution was also detected at four surface water and one groundwater locations. Cluster and principal component analysis (PCA) analyses confirmed two different sources of fecal contamination in surface water samples.